Department of Health

Find out about people’s favourite clothes, what their dressing habits used to be, and in what order they like to put on their clothes. Think about the meaning of people’s clothes to them. For example, wearing a suit and tie may be important to some men. A woman may want to wear make-up and jewellery.

Selecting clothes

  • Identify a person’s activities for the day and choose clothes accordingly.
  • Make one set of clothes available for selection by a person from their wardrobe or chest of drawers.
  • If a person can make choices, provide a couple of selections.
  • Change the wardrobe to help this. For example, insert a divider into a two-door wardrobe and lock one side.
  • If a person likes to wear the same clothes, ask the family to provide multiple sets of preferred clothes.
  • If a person is making inappropriate choices, ask yourself whether poor vision or poor lighting might be the cause.
  • Use a height-adjustable rod in the wardrobe to make clothing easier to get to, or tension rods to provide two hanging levels.
  • Use sliding shelves or drawers in the wardrobe to improve accessibility.
  • Make sure drawer handles are easy to manipulate.
  • Oil rollers and gliders regularly. Wooden gliders should be free of dirt and soaped regularly.

Clothing sequence

  • Arrange clothes in the wardrobe or drawers in order of use.
  • Put socks on top of shoes.
  • To encourage independence, use a dressing card with simple pictures and text showing a person carrying out the steps in getting dressed.

Getting dressed

  • Have the same staff member consistently help with a person’s dressing.
  • Individualise dressing strategies and think about gender issues.
  • Use clothing that is easier to put on to extend independence, for example pants and skirts with elastic waists.
  • Work out a person’s abilities and strategies to best address individual needs.
  • Think about altering the clothes of those who spend long periods of time in a wheelchair.

Reviewed 18 February 2016


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