Dementia and nudity.

Started by

My husband is being cared for in a good nursing home, thank God. Yesterday I cautioned an aide to be sure the curtain used for privacy was not positioned so that he couldn't be seen when he's in bed. (He tries to climb out of bed and falls because he has no balance, no ability to stand or walk.) I want staff to be able to see him if he's hurt. She informed me that when she arrives at 7AM, she finds that he has removed all his clothing and is laying asleep completely naked. Can anyone explain why this happens and how to handle this? Thanks! This site is a godsend! Hugs, Corinne


Corinne, is his nudity in bed a problem? Does he try to sit up in his room or go to the dining room naked? A lot of adults (or so I understand) like to sleep in the nude. Do you happen to know if he slept in the nude as a young man?

There are so many real issues in dementia that do have to be addressed. I'm wondering if this is one of them?
Hi Jeanne. One day during my visit with him, I saw him trying to undress. This is unusual behavior for him. He never slept nude or walked around nude. I suspect this is another one of those issues. Sending a hug. Corinne
corrine, my mother was the most modest, prissy, southern lady you would ever meet, now she wont bathe, will find her unclothed at times, Its not my mom that I see, its something bad that has taken over.
I work in an ALZHEIMERS unit. There is one man there, every time we get him dressed, a few minutes later he is walking around in the nude, and most of the time he has poop all over him. Can you explain why, so I can get a better understanding why this is happening?
I don't know if there is an explanation for things when dementia is present. The best we can say is that it just is and not try to explain it logically. It could be that they felt a rub or itch and thought taking off the clothes would solve it. But they wouldn't be able to explain it to us.

Now sometimes people even without dementia will take off their clothes when death is near. This is because they feel very hot even as their body temperature is below normal. This is also a paradoxical thing that happens when people freeze to death. I don't think either of these situations are relevant to someone with dementia undressing, though.
I think when there is delirium a patient is in such a frenzy that for some reason they want out of that hospital gown. The last couple of times when my very elderly parents were in the hospital I was constantly trying to get them to not unsnap the top of their gowns.... especially for my Mom. Neither of them were of the present of mind to understand.

Jessie, now that you mention it, when my Dad was in his last couple of days of Hospice, he was trying to take off his gown.
My mom does the same, I think she rolls around and comes out of her gown and doesn't notice. In the hospital they didn't use diapers or catheters and she'd lay with her legs wide open and no sheet over her. She used to be always hot and wanted some skin exposed, but I think the confusion exacerbates it.
My mother was doing this about a year after my father passed away. My SIL finally got online and ordered some of those adult onsie type things with the zipper in the back so that she couldn't get them off during the night (because sometimes she would get poo all over), that and we didn't want her stripping in front of the kiddos : )
My mother in law goes thru spells.. roughly 2-3 days a week she will take off everything,lol gown, diaper ect.. How she does this is a mystery as since her last stroke in Dec 2016 she basically can't move the left side.. The in home nurse and PT call her Houdini,lol. At night not a big deal I just make sure I check on her before the hubby.. during the day it can be a challenge,lol.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support