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Why Do Dementia Patients Undress

Where To Get Help

Caregiver Training: Refusal to Bathe | UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care
  • Your local community health centre
  • National Dementia Helpline Alzheimers Australia Tel. 1800 100 500
  • Independent Living Centre Advisory Service Tel. 1300 885 886
  • Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service Tel. 1800 699 799 for 24-hour telephone advice for carers and care workers
  • Carers Victoria Tel. 1800 242 636
  • Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres Tel. 1800 052 222

Repetitive Speech Or Actions

People with dementia will often repeat a word, statement, question, or activity over and over. While this type of behavior is usually harmless for the person with dementia, it can be annoying and stressful to caregivers. Sometimes the behavior is triggered by anxiety, boredom, fear, or environmental factors.

  • Provide plenty of reassurance and comfort, both in words and in touch.
  • Try distracting with a snack or activity.
  • Avoid reminding them that they just asked the same question. Try ignoring the behavior or question, and instead try refocusing the person into an activity such as singing or âhelpingâ you with a chore.
  • Donât discuss plans with a confused person until immediately prior to an event.
  • You may want to try placing a sign on the kitchen table, such as, âDinner is at 6:30â or âLois comes home at 5:00â to remove anxiety and uncertainty about anticipated events.
  • Learn to recognize certain behaviors. An agitated state or pulling at clothing, for example, could indicate a need to use the bathroom.

Getting Our Approach Right

People may refuse help from some care staff but not others. This is likely to be to do with the quality of relationships and the type of approach. Refusing personal care from a particular staff member may be the persons way of saying I dont know who you are, I dont trust you, Im embarrassed or Youre going too fast. All of these messages can be addressed for example, we can:

  • give clear explanations and repeat ourselves as necessary
  • not ask for too much at one time
  • work at building a closer relationship with the individual, showing that they are valued as a person and not just seen as a focus for a care task
  • ensure that we are going at a pace with which the person feels comfortable and safe, not hurried or rushed
  • ensure we are respecting their dignity and modesty as much as possible.

Refusing help is how some people communicate their need to believe that they are still independent. It is very important that we respect this and ensure that we help people to do everything that they can still do for themselves. It is often easier for a person to accept help with aspects of a task that they find difficult if they have a sense of achievement gained through completing some parts of the task on their own. For more on these ideas, look at the section on Communicating well.

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It Is Important To Remember That Thesebehaviors Are Often Coping Tactics Fora Person With A Progressive Diagnosisaffecting Brain Function

The behaviorsthat you may encounter do notgenerally reflect how the person feelsor thinks about you, but rather are anexpression of their own feelings of loss.If your loved one is expressing thesebehaviors and you need additionalsupport, please contact the FamilyCaregiver Support Network forresources and referrals.

Openknow The Person Well

Why do Dementia Patients Wander?

Spend time finding out from relatives, close friends, or care staff that know the person well, what usual signs to look out for when the person is in pain, discomfort or distress. For one person it may be that they shout out for another, it may be that they become very quiet and withdrawn. Knowing what to expect could make a big difference in your approach.

Known conditions that could cause pain should be recorded in a safe place that is accessible for staff and easy to read. Conditions could include:

  • arthritis
  • mouth pain
  • fractures
  • headaches.
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    Bathing Dressing And Grooming: Alzheimer’s Caregiving Tips

    At some point, people with Alzheimers disease will need help bathing, combing their hair, brushing their teeth, and getting dressed. Because these are private activities, people may not want help. They may feel embarrassed about being naked in front of caregivers. They also may feel angry about not being able to care for themselves. These suggestions may help with everyday care.

    Refusing Help With Personal Care

    Personal care is an intimate activity and most people will experience difficult feelings if they need help with this. Trying to force a person with dementia to accept personal care constitutes abuse. It is a fundamental human right to say no. However, neglecting someones personal care needs can also be abusive, as the persons health may be put at risk. Therefore, it is essential to understand the persons reason for refusing and to address this.

    We may need to find an alternative way of providing the personal care the person needs, for example, offering a bath rather than a shower. It will be important to find out as much as possible about the persons previous lifestyle and preferences concerning their hygiene. Perhaps the person always had a bath on Sunday mornings and had stand-up washes for the rest of the week. Then we need to adapt to this routine. Through finding out this background information, observing and listening to the person with dementia, we can gradually build up a picture of the personal care routines and preferences of each individual.

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    How To Support A Person With Dementia To Get Dressed Or Change Clothes

    Helping someone with dementia choose what to wear is important. You will be helping them to make their own choices, make sure they are clean and comfortable, and to express their own identity and personal style.

    Supporting a person with washing and dressing

    Wherever possible, ask the person what they would like to put on. Someone with dementia can still choose what they would like to wear. Too many options can be confusing, so you could offer them the choice of only two items of clothing at a time.

    Speak to the person about what clothes might be most suitable for what they are doing later, and what the weather is like. Is what they plan to wear suitable? If not, gently suggest alternatives. Respect the persons choice of what to wear.

    As long as it doesnt harm them, you should accept the person dressing in an unusual way, or wearing clothing that may be viewed as out of place. If the person is determined to wear clothing that does not match for example, respect their choice.

    Why People With Dementia Develop Problems With Dressing

    Dementia and Delusions: Why do delusions happen and how should you respond?

    Often, the person living with dementia copes with confusion and memory loss by adhering to a routine. Routines in dementia can be comforting and feel safe for the person, such as wearing the same outfit every day.

    Because dementia affects the physical functioning of a person as the disease progresses, it can become more difficult to physically handle the task of dressing as well.

    Dressing can also be an area where a loved one tries to maintain her independence by choosing her own clothing. When this ability begins to decrease, she may cling to it despite the difficulties as a way to make her own choices.

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    Articles On Behavior Problems With Dementia And Alzheimer’s

    Many times, people with Alzheimerâs still have their sex drive. But changes in their brains can make them act in ways that are new or different for them.

    For example, they may show more interest in sex than before. They may touch, hug, or try to kiss others, even strangers. They might touch their private areas, masturbate around others, or try to touch other peopleâs private areas.

    They may use vulgar language or make sexual advances. They may take their clothes off around others or come out naked or in their underwear.

    This behavior may surprise you, but remember that it isnât their fault. Itâs caused by the effects of the disease on their brain. It may help you not feel hurt or embarrassed to remind yourself and others of this.

    It isnât usually an emergency. You can often manage it at home.

    Symptoms Of Late Stage Alzheimers

    Health takes a dramatic turn during the final stages of Alzheimers disease. Mind and body fade, leaving patients entirely dependent on loved ones and caretakers.

    Physical Changes

    People gradually lose control over their body. Basic systems begin to fail, leaving them bed-bound and helpless.

    • Loss of Movement. Alzheimers affects centers of balance and mobility. Patients lose the ability to walk or sit without assistance. As a result, muscles atrophy and joints freeze.
    • Skin. Skin loses its elasticity, which makes it vulnerable to tearing and bruising. Immobility and loss of muscle mass also increase the likelihood of bedsores, especially on bony areas such as elbows, hips, heels, and bottom.
    • Bowel & Bladder Control. Patients become incontinent, requiring diapers and caregivers who will take responsibility for toileting and cleaning.
    • Dental Hygiene. Patients lose interest in keeping their mouths clean. As a result, cavities, abscesses, and broken teeth are common. Because they rarely respond to thirst, patients may develop chapped lips and dry mouth as well.

    Physical deterioration also weakens the immune system, putting patients at greater risk of infection. First is pneumonia, which patients develop due to their declining lung capacity. Second is sepsis, which occurs when small wounds become inflamed. Third are urinary tract infections , a common side effect of incontinence.

    Mental Changes

    Dietary Changes

    Caring for Late Stage Alzheimers

    Moving & Turning

    Using a Wheelchair

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    Ways To Work With Your Loved One

    Once you think youâve figured out the cause, make a plan and see if it helps. You can try a few simple things right away that might make a difference:

    • Try to distract them. You might go for a walk or have a snack. Once theyâve calmed down, try the activity again.
    • Make sure they arenât uncomfortable or in need of the bathroom.
    • Speak as softly and as calmly as you can, even if you feel frustrated, angry, or sad. Step away for a few minutes if you can, and take some deep breaths. Your loved one can tell by your voice and body when you feel stressed.
    • If theyâre upset, give them space and try again later. Donât force them to do something they donât want to do.
    • Give them simple choices if possible.
    • Use short, simple sentences to tell them what they should do and why. Donât tell them what not to do.
    • Break tasks into simple steps and give instructions that are 1 or 2 steps only. Go slowly and don’t rush them. Tell them what youâll do before you do it, especially before you touch them.
    • Talk to them like an adult, not as if they were a child.

    You may need to try several of these things. If none of them seem to help, talk with a doctor.

    If your loved one thinks somethingâs happening that isnât, donât argue with them. You might:

    Common Causes Of Pain In Dementia

    Why Do Dementia Patients Stop Eating?

    People with dementia are usually older and therefore many of the causes of pain will be the same for all older people:

    • osteoarthritis
    • pressure sores
    • muscle rigidity
    • constipation.

    People often experience pain when a part of the body is moving. For example, a person is most likely to experience pain when they are being helped to turn in bed, get dressed or undressed or when a wound dressing is being cleaned or removed.

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    Other Ways To Tackle Pain Without Medication

    Gentle exercises to relieve stiff joints and massage to relive tight muscles can help, but seek advise from a physiotherapist on the best and safest techniques to use.

    Some people benefit from using heat pads. However, be careful that they do not irritate, are too hot or used for too long.

    Help position the person so that they are comfortable in bed or in a chair. Use an air mattress and air cushions to relieve pressure.

    Help support the person with good mouthcare and oral hygiene, and ask a dentist for advise where there are problems.

    Distraction, relieving boredom, a calm, comfortable environment, social contact, treating anxiety and/or depression can all help to alleviate pain.

    Openask The Person Directly

    The best thing to do is to ask the person directly. Many people with moderate or even advanced dementia may still be able to provide information on their pain. Keep questions simple, as some people may not understand what you mean when you use the word pain. You may need to ask questions like ‘Is it sore?’ or ‘Does it hurt?’

    When a person has poor short-term memory they may only be able to tell you if they are in pain at that moment they may not remember if they had pain five minutes or five hours ago. Asking how severe pain is may also be difficult: Does it hurt a lot? or How much? may not be helpful, as often the person will not be able to describe how bad the pain is or how often it occurs.

    Be careful not to overload the person. If a person is asked a question again and again that they do not understand, they may become agitated and distressed.

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    What You Can Do

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    The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal, financial, professional, or medical advice or diagnosis or treatment. By using our website, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Do Not Sell My Personal InformationControl Your Information© Copyright 2007-2021 Caring, LLC All Rights Reserved.

    Stage : Moderate Dementia

    Top 3 signs your loved one with dementia needs nursing home care

    Patients in stage 5 need some assistance in order to carry out their daily lives. The main sign for stage 5 dementia is the inability to remember major details such as the name of a close family member or a home address. Patients may become disoriented about the time and place, have trouble making decisions, and forget basic information about themselves, such as a telephone number or address.

    While moderate dementia can interfere with basic functioning, patients at this stage do not need assistance with basic functions such as using the bathroom or eating. Patients also still have the ability to remember their own names and generally the names of spouses and children.

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    Why Does My Mother Constantly Pack To Go Home

    My mom and dad are both in a memory care facility. My mom constantly packs to go home. She takes all their things including pictures off the walls and wraps them in clothing and packs in her drawers. I want them to have things around them that bring happy memories but it is exhausting to have to unpack them all the time. Is there anything I can do to alleviate this behavior?

    Hi Catherine,

    I am glad you are able to have both parents at a facility where it sounds they are being taken well care of. Unfortunately, people remember and visualize where they should be living differently as they progress with dementia.

    There are several possible reasons your mother keeps packing to go hometry to understand why. Is she comfortable where she is? Does she have enough privacy? Did her and your father move a lot? Is it possible for you to stop and, before you unpack the items, ask her which home she is wanting to go back to?

    Listen closely to her stories and you might find an answer. Without knowing how far along your mom is, would it confuse her to get in the car and drive around? Not taking all of the items with you, but just enough to change her scenery and to get out of the environment she was in. You might find when you return to your parents current home, she will find comfort recognizing her space as her home and feel a sense of relief.

    Why Do Dementia Patients Take Their Clothes Off

    Alzheimer’sdementiatake off theirdo

    This phenomenon, known as “paradoxical undressing,” is sometimes found when people are dying as a result of hypothermia. In simpler terms, a freezing body tries to reduce heat loss via thermoregulary vasoconstriction, which keeps blood closer to the core and away from the periphery.

    Likewise, how do you get someone with dementia to change clothes? Change clothes regularly

  • remove the dirty clothing and put clean clothing in its place when the person is in the bath or shower.
  • encourage them to change because someone is coming to visit.
  • tell them how much you’d love to see them wearing something new.
  • why do dementia patients pick at their clothes?

    The person may move their hands much more often. They may constantly wring their hands, pull at their clothes, tap or fidget, or touch themselves inappropriately in public. This can be a sign of a need for example, the person may pull at their clothes because they are too hot or need the toilet.

    Does dementia make you rude?

    People with dementia might say hurtful thingsWhen you‘re caring for an older adult with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, they might make mean comments, use hurtful words, or accuse you of terrible things.

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    Mood And Behavioral Symptoms

    Frequency of Mood and Behavioral Disturbances

    In Alzheimers disease, it is estimated that more than 90% of patients will have one or more significant mood or behavioral symptoms at some point during the course of their illness. In other forms of dementia, the frequency of mood or behavioral symptoms may be similar, or even higher. Like everything else about dementia, of course, this is highly variable there are some individuals who rarely exhibit mood or behavioral symptoms, while for others, these are the most prominent features of their illness throughout its course.

    Impact of Mood and Behavioral Symptoms

    Mood and behavioral symptoms certainly increase the suffering of both the person with the illness and care partner, and often the entire family. They decrease functional abilities, and occasionally lead to behaviors that are dangerous for the individual, the care partner, or both. Numerous studies have shown that poor control of behavioral symptoms is a major cause of hastened nursing home placement. It is these symptoms, more than almost anything, that drain the emotional resources of care partners, however loving and devoted they may be.

    Reasons for Mood and Behavioral Symptoms

    Some of the basic characteristics of dementia that can lead to mood and behavioral symptoms are:

    What is the Effect of the Underlying Personality?

    Relationship Issues

    Inevitably, some of the unresolved issues that may have been avoided for years, or decades, will come to the surface.


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