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Clothing for Dementia Patients: What to Look For and What Works

Written by Grace Styron
 about the author
27 minute readLast updated March 28, 2023

When your loved one has dementia, the process of getting ready for the day can change significantly. Limited dexterity, vision impairments, and memory difficulties can complicate activities of daily living (ADLs) like grooming, toileting, and dressing. Specially designed garments may help facilitate these everyday routines and minimize frustration for both of you. Read on to learn what to look for when shopping for adaptive clothing and find examples of popular apparel and footwear for seniors living with dementia.

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How to choose clothing for dementia patients

Dressing a loved one can be a major stressor for a caregiver. It’s often emotionally overwhelming for a dementia patient, too. When helping a loved one dress, be mindful of the reasons they’re having difficulty in the first place. Whether it’s due to physical difficulties, depression, self-consciousness, or something else, it’s important to respect their dignity.
Helping your loved one with dementia maintain their appearance can promote their self-esteem. Before shopping for dementia clothing, you have a lot to consider.
  • Talk with your loved one about what they’re comfortable with. While adaptive clothing is designed to relieve caregiver stress related to dressing, it’s possible the transition may frustrate your loved one. Having a conversation about the necessity of adaptive clothing and what they’ll be comfortable with will help make the process easier on both of you.
  • Evaluate the biggest difficulties your loved one is having. Some dementia clothing is designed for seniors who can still dress themselves, while other clothing is designed for seniors who require full assistance. Determine beforehand what clothing will be most effective. Go in with a plan.
  • Pick comfortable and simple clothing. Consider your loved one’s current style and capabilities. Look for options they’ll be pleased with and able to manage.

Key features to look for in dementia clothing

Once you’ve evaluated what you need from the adaptive clothing, you’re ready to start shopping. When shopping for clothing for a dementia patient, look for the following key features.
  • Stretchable, durable fabrics. Loose-fitting and stretchable materials, especially at the waist and hips, allow for easier movement. If the fabric is also durable, it will last longer and hold up better in case of an accident.
  • Velcro fasteners or zippers. For someone with poor dexterity, small buttons and tricky fasteners are difficult if not impossible to navigate. Velcro fasteners and zippers are an excellent, easier alternative to speed up the process.
  • Nonslip shoes and socks. Accidental slips and falls are common among seniors with dementia due to poor balance and decreased muscle mass. Help your loved one keep their feet on the ground by purchasing shoes and socks with good tread and nonslip soles.
  • Soothing colors and patterns. You want your loved one to feel at ease, so avoid features that may agitate them. For example, colors can have an outsized impact on dementia patients, so try to choose ones your loved one will find soothing, like blue or green.
  • Clothing that fastens in the back. This is especially beneficial if your loved one has an issue with repeated disrobing. Having the fastener in the back limits their ability to undress themselves and, in turn, helps prevent potential embarrassment.
Keeping these things in mind, explore the list of dementia clothing below to find something that will suit you and your loved one’s needs and preferences.

Best dementia clothing for your aging loved one

As a general rule, it’s best to avoid small fasteners and buttons for those with poor finger dexterity or vision impairments. Clothes with elastic waistbands and loose-fitting materials are good options as they offer a wider range of movement and comfort. Below are items for both men and women with dementia designed to make dressing easier.

Soft-waist pants

Soft-waist pants are a great option thanks to their high level of comfort and ease of use. For loved ones with dementia and bathroom urgency, they pose a great alternative to standard trousers.

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  • The Able Label’s Elastic Waist Pull-On Trousers feature a full elastic waistband and Velcro fastening behind the top button. They can be pulled on, but they also feature a zip fly, allowing for easier toileting. The pull cords inside the waistband can even make the trousers tighter, if needed. They’re made of an easy-care cotton blend and have convenient side and back pockets.
  • The Flora Wide Leg Trousers, also from The Able Label, are a comfortable yet flattering high-waist trouser. Designed with zero fastenings, they’re easier to slide on and pull off. Convenient side pockets allow your loved one to carry items like Chapstick or tissues with them. Plus, they’re made with easy-care, non-iron fabric and an elasticated back waistband. Available in two leg lengths and a classic pure black color, these trousers are must-haves for any dementia patient.
  • CareZips adaptive pants are specially designed for those with incontinence care needs. These innovative unisex pants can be worn day or night. Their most-notable feature is three conveniently placed front-to-back zippers which offer full access to the abdominal area. This helps nursing staff or at-home caregivers handle adult brief changes after an accident with less strain. The pant legs are also slightly tapered to prevent dragging. With these new pants, your loved one can maintain their dignity while enjoying a soft-yet-athletic look.


Soft, loose-fitting dresses are an excellent option for a senior with limited dexterity or pressure point sensitivity. As opposed to a shirt and pants, dresses are non-restrictive and allow more freedom of movement.
  • Silverts’ Adaptive Open Back Twofer Dress combines assistive dressing with style for adults with arthritis or limited dexterity. This dress features a discrete back overflap with a snap closure, offering sufficient and easy coverage for your loved one. These snaps are strategically placed on the shoulders to eliminate pressure points. Alongside a luxurious, buttery-soft fabric, the dress features two-in-one styling for a stylish and conventional look.
  • This Duster House Dress, also from Silverts, is ideal for those with limited arm dexterity. The soft-knit fabric is great for sensitive skin and is machine washable. Its large neck hole and wide, loose sleeves allow for easier dressing. Designed with deep arm holes and non-constricting elastic sleeves, this dress is ideal for full-figured women and fits up to size 26 1/2.
  • short sleeve house dress might be your loved one’s new favorite. Many house dresses can feel restricting or look frumpy. This day dress, however, is made of a high-quality cotton blend with stylish pleats, a soft optional belt, and two functional patch pockets. Designed for easy dressing, it has a discrete zipper in the front from the neckline to the hip area. With a dress like this, your loved one can look crisp without sacrificing any assistive dressing features.


Jumpsuits are ideal for seniors with dementia who are prone to disinhibited behaviors associated with dementia, like compulsive undressing or fondling. Most jumpsuits are designed with a single back zipper. This hard-to-reach location helps limit the senior’s access to their abdominal and pelvic regions while still allowing the caregiver to easily dress and undress their loved one.
  • The Stay Dressed Jumpsuit from Silverts is an anti-strip jumpsuit thoughtfully designed to discourage sporadic undressing. Ideal for assisted dressing, this jumpsuit is styled to look like two separate pieces: a shirt and pants. It features a long, discrete back zipper with snap closure — easy for caregivers to secure while ensuring your loved one stays comfortably dressed. It’s machine washable, wrinkle resistant, and made of stretchy fabric for lasting comfort.
  • Buck & Buck’s basic sweat jumpsuit for women combines all the comfort of a two-piece sweat suit into a single, dignified outfit. Its soft elastic ankles and stretchable fleece material allow for unrestrictive comfort, while the crisp white color adds a touch of style. Thanks to a single zipper up the back, the wearer’s ability to undress herself is strongly limited. The caregiver, however, can easily assist when the time comes.
  • back-zip sleeper suit, also from Buck & Buck, helps eliminate potentially embarrassing behaviors at night. Like other jumpsuits, this onesie-style nightie has a long zipper up the back, limiting the ability to undress. Cut long in the torso and made with soft cotton fabric, your loved one will stay comfortable all night. For seniors with incontinence or weak bladders, pair this sleeper with an absorbent adult brief or diaper to avoid any accidents.


Ideal for the self-dressing senior, a set can help eliminate any frustration that comes with pairing a shirt and pants — that job’s already been done! Sets are also a great alternative for the caregiver who would like one less task when dressing their loved one. They make a great confidence-boosting go-to outfit for any senior with dementia.
  • printed capri set is a colorful, feminine option for spring and summer. Made with roomy hips and nonbinding elastic, they help prevent skin irritation and are easy to put on and take off. The lightweight, breathable pants come in a variety of great floral prints. Pair them with a colored top of your choice to complete the look.
  • Try the Pull Over So-Soft Set for a super soft, lightweight feel. The long-sleeved top is free of any frustrating fasteners or zippers and features two large patch pockets. The matching pants are made of the same plush, lightweight material and feature an all-elastic waistband. A set like this is soothing on fragile skin and comfortable for daily wear.

Adaptable shirts and sweaters

Tops designed for seniors with dementia often have features adapted to disabilities like poor dexterity and limited mobility. Features like a wider neck hole or Velcro fasteners in place of small buttons make dressing and undressing much easier. Moreover, the ability to do this with no or minimal assistance can boost a senior’s confidence and self-worth.
  • Buck & Buck’s Smart Adaptive Men’s Dress Shirt is a classic men’s “button-down” shirt, but it has substituted concealed Velcro fasteners for the buttons. The shirt has 3-inch cuffs and broad shoulders that make for easier movement, dressing, and undressing. This option is perfect for men who’d like to dress up but must do so with limited mobility or dexterity.
  • The Able Label’s Camilla Cotton Seersucker Velcro Shirt is a similar option for women. This stylish, quick-drying 3/4-sleeve shirt is non-iron and features a concealed Velcro fastener. A shirt like this is easy for a dementia patient to put on with minimal assistance. Plus, its crisp and stylish look just might boost your loved one’s self-esteem.


Protect your loved one’s dignity by giving them the gift of comfortable, easy-to-use undergarments. A nicely fitted bra can soothe some agitation, and sufficiently absorbent underwear is imperative for a senior with incontinence, a common symptom of dementia. Try out these options designed by highly rated senior-focused clothing companies.
  • Front Velcro Fastening 1020 Comfi Bra is ideal for a woman with dementia who has difficulty fastening her bra. Its front Velcro fastener makes dressing exponentially easier, without sacrificing durability or support. Just slip your arms through, fasten, and go. For additional comfort, it has padded shoulder straps, a pure cotton lining, and zero painful wires.
  • Absorbent Full Brief Knickers are designed for older women struggling with poor bladder control. This is a durable leak-proof pair of underwear that will keep your loved one comfortable and dry. Its built-in absorbent pad can hold over 10 ounces of fluid per day. If you’d prefer something lighter, try their Mid Absorbent Knickers, which can hold over 3 ounces per day.
  • This Washable Incontinence Brief is a similar option for men with incontinence care needs. Its ultra-soft, absorbent liner masks odors well and can hold up to 6 ounces of fluids. This brief is an environmentally friendly alternative to disposables and will keep your loved one comfortable and dry.

Shoes and accessories

Many stores today offer a wide range of dementia-friendly accessories that can ease discomfort, soothe agitation, prevent accidents, and boost a senior’s esteem. From dementia-friendly watches to stylish hats and belts, there are plenty of options at your disposal.

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  • Lilly Luxury Velcro Cape offers a warm and cozy layer to stave off any chills. Designed with no armholes plus a Velcro fastening collar, this garment is easy for your dementia patient to put on and remove.
  • These unisex slip-resistant grip socks are made of feather-soft polyester chenille. Their slip-resistant soles help prevent accidental slips, skids, and falls around the house. Their non-constrictive top won’t affect circulation, and their stretchy fabric can accommodate a variety of foot sizes.
  • The best shoes for dementia patients are comfortable and designed to help minimize slips and falls. From tennis shoes to loafers, there’s a range of durable and stylish options to choose from.

When it’s time to seek help

Caring for a loved one with dementia comes with a range of challenges, and time generally doesn’t make things easier. Maybe your mom needs help using the restroom, or your dad can’t buckle his favorite belt anymore. If adaptive clothing doesn’t alleviate the emotional weight of caring for someone with dementia, or your loved one’s ability to complete daily tasks continues to decline, it could mean it’s time for a change.
Memory care communities offer professional assistance with activities of daily living, plus specialized care for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. In-home care is another option that can provide the help a senior needs to age in place for as long as possible. Consider reaching out to a Senior Care Advisor for qualified, judgement-free advice about the next steps for your loved one’s condition.


  1. Alzheimer’s Association. Dressing and grooming.

  2. Alzheimer Society of Canada. Dressing.

  3. Sellers, J. (2014, November 12).Clothes encounters. Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation.

  4. Weill Institute for Neurosciences: Memory and Aging Center. Behavior and personality changes. University of California San Francisco.

Meet the Author
Grace Styron

Grace Styron is a writer at OurParents specializing in assistive technology, memory care, and home care. Before writing about healthy aging, she worked for an online women’s lifestyle magazine and as a grant writer for a nonprofit regenerative permaculture farm in Virginia. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Missouri State University.

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