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The other day I went to Mom's (independent care, mild Dementia, Narcissistic) and she opened her closet (packed with clothes) and said I have nothing to wear. She finds fault with each article of clothing. She wants me to "drop her off" at the mall which I refuse to do. NOT SAFE. She buys beautiful tops and over and over says "I have nothing to wear. That top is not "me" anymore." So far, I just listen to her. I try to pick out 2 or 3 outfits for her before I leave. (I visit twice a week - she's well cared for - bather, nurse's aide, etc.) I just don't know what the right thing to do in this situation. I will call her doctor, however also wanted to know if anyone had ever heard of this before. Another factor, which could very well be at play, is she's had bladder infection after bladder infection this year. So it could be this behavior is temporarily appearing because of the bladder problem. The doctor just put her on another medication for the bladder problem because on Friday her culture came back positive again. Poor Mom. I want to help her however I don't think it's proper to just endlessly buy clothes because she says she has "nothing to wear". I also wondered if this was a social anxiety issue. Having nothing to wear means you can't participate in social activities. Thank you so much for your comments. I am new to this site and appreciate your advice.

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AS mentioned UTIs are very common in the elderly and sometimes physions will prescribe antibiotics on a regular basis rather than in response to infections. maybe something like 2 weeks on 2 weeks off. This seems like an over use of the meds but if Mom is getting infections at least once a month it may be worth trying.
As far as the clothes are concerned that seems to have been answered except in the case of someone wearing the same clothes, my advise would be to match up the favorite clothes then keep swapping them out for laundry. Buy them used if possible but if new wash well before introducing them so they don;t appear different
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Emma, did you see the 12-26 5:03 am newsletter. I know it was titled Reactive Arthritis; but it mentioned the effects of bladder infections (among other infections) as having an effect of dementia. I was hoopin' and hollering as that's exactly what happened to my mom. She already had dementia, but dementia got so advanced we quickly moved her to an assisted living. The onset was so fast. She is back to "her normal" now that the infection was found and cleared. Who would have thought there was a connection. But I'm now convinced it was.
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Delena, it is not uncommon for elderly women to have chronic Urinary Tract Infections. The cause can be from any number of things such as not enough fluid intake, poor hygiene, prolapsed bladder, or just from being female and not producing estrogen any more (causes dryness of skin which causes tiny skin cracks for bacteria to grow in). The UTI's cause symptoms unique to the elderly such as worsened short term memory, easily frustrated, personality change (becoming belligerent or short tempered, swearing), and confusion. You are right, she should check out the bladder infection right away and get it cleared up. Improvement in Mom's demeanor should follow. I have been dealing with my 93 year old Mom's chronic UTI's for 2 years and still don't know why she gets so many. But then, she lives alone and we don't know all her habits for sure.
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My mother did the same thing. I would feel guilty and go out and buy her new clothes but then she didn't even wear them and was still saying that she had nothing to wear. I eventually just started telling her that next time I come by we will go shopping and that stopped her complaining. She wouldn't remember the conversation so it worked out okay.
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My mom in law has dementis and says this same thing. She has more clothes than anyone I know of. So, I bring some home with me, and exchange them out occasionally...and she seems happy at that (I try and do this when she is not in the room (remove ) and bring them in when she is there. She then thinks she is getting new clothes all the time.
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My mom does the same thing. It usually passes but sometimes we have to allow her wishes and then she moves on to something else. My sister took my mom shopping for clothes and she ended up giveing me the clothes. Kinda weird. I think they just don't have anything else. Mom has pleanty of clothes and she wears the same things over and over kinda funny. Mom does the same thing with food because my sister does the food shopping and mom want's to do it her self but it's an all day trip due to her illness and wheelchair but we take her sometimes to get it out of her system I guess you would say. Hang in there and do the best you can. Try some of the tricks others have said about taking clothes home and bringing back but I have a feeling your mom might just want to go out and have her own time. It's too much for me to do since I do the daily/night live in but my sister will take her for her all day shoping trips. It really helps but things change so often as we all know. Good luck : )
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Emma - my mom luckily fixates on other things (THEY steal shoes....) but one thing I'd like to suggest is to go ahead and take 1/2 of all her clothes now (both summer & winter weight), wash and pack them away for the future. Ignore her protests on this. lol

My mom went from her home of 50+ years to IL for a couple of years and now is in NH. I left about 60% of her wardrobe in her house when she moved into IL because I flat ran out of time to shove crap into boxes or drawers when the movers came.....But this had ended up being most fortunate as now that she is in a NH her once lovely wardrobe has been trashed. NH laundry is super hot and they all use big commercial systems which is rough beyond rough on anything that is not a good heavy duty fabric. So I;ve been able to just toss stuff as it gets too worn to wear and replace it from the stuff from storage. This is good as she recognizes items and knows it's hers. Oh and I should have used some of her spend down $ on inexpensive simple unfussy wardrobe as stuff just walks in the NH. My mom just loves those hideous SAS shoes and they have to get replaced pretty often as 1 is always MIA.
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Also as to the UTIs she may not be drinking enough water or un-decaffeinated fluids. My family was advised that severe UTIs can lead to strokes. My mother had a bad stroke and we found out she had a couple dozen mini strokes. My mother was not aware she had any symptomes of a UTI, but she had a sever UTI. Check on her fluid intake and that she is getting cleaned up propery daily when she is in the batheroom. Not sure if she has to have bathroom assitance if not she may need it now. Also that she is bathed on a regular basis. Just because they are helping her get in and out of the bath/shower she may need help cleaning herself.

I know it can be tough to keep up with you and your mom. I have been taking care of my mom for going on six years at my home. She goes to day care every day while I work. My mom needs assitance in every manner. I make her drinks and send them to day care so I know how much she is drinking and that a good portion of her fluid intake is water. No more UTIs. I also started with cranberry pills for an extra measure against the UTIs. Good luck and god bless!
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Meant to say "I need new clothes". I really should drink the coffee first BEFORE I write anything!
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My mom does this to an extent. She keeps saying "I need no clothes" while she has a closet full of things that she rarely wears. Part of it is due to PD and the fact that her clothes don't 'work' for her anymore. Buttons are hard. And zip up button pants are out of the question since she needs me to help her pull her pants up and down both for dressing and toileting. For my mom it comes from remembering a time when clothes were fun and not just something functional. Plus mom's become so emaciated due to cachexia from the advanced PD that a lot of tops and blouses just don't look right on her anymore but she still has to wear clothes. One day she had me look for pants that she hasn't had in yrs and insisted that I must have thrown them out. That was a fun day!
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hi Emma123, dont feel like you are alone.. going through he same thing with my mom, and have been for awhile. Think it stems from their past. My mom always had a lot of clothes but after having breast cancer(she beat it) gallbladder removed she lost a lot of weight. She has dementia now. i take her to the thrift store every Sat or Sun and let her choose what she wants. I have to wait until she not looking and remove items that are too small . she spends everyday in and out of her closet arranging clothes. Everyone is right second hands store is the way to go. You could have worse things to worry about with her. Each day with her will be different so prepare yourself for things that are more serious than this. You will be ok Emma.
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Good answers here.
I can relate to the clothes problem, though. The first week my mom moved in with us I came home from work one day to find her going through my closet.

She said "I"ve tried on everything in your closet and I can't find a thing to fit me!"...
Since I'm a size 22W and she is a size 4P, no wonder. LOL!

Since then we have hired Julie to stay with her during the day. They go to second hand stores and out to eat alot. My husband drives and just brings a book to read while they shop. Julie is a godsend! I wish everyone could have a Julie.
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and look into the relationship between type of underwear/clothing and infections like this advice from livestrong.com

Clothing
The bacteria that causes urinary tract infections flourishes in a moist and warm environment. Underwear made from synthetic materials restricts airflow to the genitals. Natural cotton is porous and allows air to flow through the material, which helps to keep the genitals dry. Change your underwear at least once a day and launder dirty underwear in warm or hot water to kill bacteria. Avoid wearing clothing that is tight in the groin area, which will prevent air flow to the genitals.
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The bladder issue might be causing the clothing issues. Either too tight or clothing might show depends or risk leakage. Have you tried other natural options to preventing infections?

Is clothing all of same type? Like baggy legs vs slimmer legs. Elastic around waist that causes discomfort?

If she has too many options, maybe too hard to select an outfit. Suggestion: try taking a picture of her in any outfits she likes and she could use them as guides for dressing another day.
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There are also some people who have plenty of clothes, but then claim that these clothes are "not mine". My grandfather was doing that, which was a source of frustration for my mother.
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My mother-in-law insists on wearing the same clothes everyday.She lives with me so I just do laundry in the evening when I can get her clothes as well.
My problem is that she turns her depends wrong side out! I think the "seam" gave her the idea they were backwards. Then she puts them in the washer when she changes. (Another reason I do laundry when we go out or at night.)
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You may get a kick out of this. My father is 97 and always was a dapper dresser.
Because of his advanced age he now really doesn't seem to care. If I see him before he's going somewhere I will say, "Dad, look at your shirt, it's got spots on it." His answer is "ah it's ok not going anywhere". Then two minuties later he's off going to the store or somewhere else, in the same spotted, stained shirt. His closet is full of nice, pressed shirts and pants. Does it really matter, YES to me it does. All I can think of is if his friends or anyone else sees him, will they think, doesn't his daughter take care of him??? I've bought him very nice button down collared shirts and nice slacks to wear. When he was working and traveling he always wanted his shirts perfectly pressed. My mother would, at the time, starch and press everything to perfection. So this is the end results of what's happening now. I guess we just have to go with the flow. :-)
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Cranberry capsules help a great deal with UTI's too..is she hydrated? That too could be a concern...or what is the actual bacteria causing the UTI? If it's MRSA - you need to provide some alkaline in her diet - I give my Mom pHenominal...
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My mother has a PD as well as Alzheimer's. She is in late stage 3 and crossing into stage 4. Her obsession is paperwork. Junk mail, advertisements, insurance seminars, you name it. She obsesses because she can no long organize it her head. She does not know what to throw away, whats important, and what is junk. I don't know what stage your mother is in, but I was going to suggest what someone else already posted about taking some of her clothes home with you. Maybe you could arrange for the facility to have your mother out of her room and you could go in and take some of her outfits home. If she asks about the clothes tell her you are having them cleaned and maybe she will forget about them. Then bring them back to her a few months later, removing some of the other outfits. Its probably because she has too many choices and is confused. It sounds like clothing is your mother's interest. Just as mother's interest is her finances and having all the paperwork filed neatly so she knows just where to find it. My mother complains she is always too busy, she has 2 appt. this week and says she just doesn't have time to be running all over town, LOL!! I laugh because these appt. probably only take up 1-1/2 hours of her time at the most, the rest of her time is spent trying to make sense of all the paperwork. If you mother is putting on layers of clothing, it sounds like she is more advanced than my mother. This is a very common thing for people with dementia to do. They will dress for the wrong seasons, sometimes they will put their under garments on the outside of their clothing too. Leave her with clothing that is season appropriate and switch them out as the seasons change.
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Ladies I agree with the rotation and returning as "new". A few other things to consider - it may be a lack of control...great book - The 36 Hour Day...highly recommended for those who have a loved one with dementia. It's an oldie and often found on Amazon or used book stores...great read and very helpful.
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To add a little more, It is almost impossible to shop for or with my Mom. She has a big lump on her neck and age spots on her arms. So she has to wear something that covers her lump and her arms, many times that means 2 different pieces of clothing. I found that long sleeve tee shirts with a high neckline work to cover the neck and arms, or a short sleeve or sleeveless top over a mock turtle neck work and she likes those. Being that your Mom is Narcissistic, it sound like clothes mean a lot to her. Good luck and just keep loving your Mom.
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Maybe she is still feeling like all women who say they have nothing to wear, when we have more than enough clothes. Most women love new clothes and many go broke buying them. It could also be, due to her dementia, she is living a point in her past where she felt that way. My Dad with Dementia did this, he would be on a point in his younger life that was current in his mind, and stay on that topic for maybe 2 months or so, then start on a different time in his younger life, constantly talking about the new time period.Now he can hardly remember his own name or his wife and kids's name. All the suggestions others have given are great. Second hand stores are fun because there are so many different style. Like some already said, take a few home with you and bring them back some other time, she may not remember they were hers. As we get older, we feel colder. My Mom, who is 92. has the temp in her room at the ALF so hot that I can't handle it.
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My Mom wears the same clothes from 30 years ago. Usually just 2 different shirts. She likes the red and white strip which had a tore in it on the sleeve, but she sewed it and she wants to wear it to important functions. I tell her its for just around the house. It's at least 35 yrs old. I have to take her clothes before she puts them on to wash them. And she has to wear a long sleeve stripped shirt because she always cold. And it's 95 degrees. It's so hard sometimes. Good answers though.
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My mom also loves to buy new clothes, and yes, many still have store tags on the in closet. I think it is indeed a self esteem issue.. she is looking for that perfect outfit that will make her feel like her younger self.

I appreciated the comment about her not being able to "look" for things anymore. I am wondering if I assisted her by putting complete outfits together in her closet if she would realise she has some awesome clothes and accessories. I only wish her clothes would fit me!
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Get her some catalogs, let her spend time looking at the clothing and have her mark the items she thinks she would like to have. Maybe that will help to alleviate her need for shopping?
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In answer to Delena, that sounds like a great idea, but in our situation mother does not want to shop and cannot figure out what will fit her if anything. She ends up getting frustrated.
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Wow!!! I totally understand what you are going through. At present my husband and I are going through this with his Mother. She has a closet full of clothes(much more than I even have) and thinks she is a size 2 when in reality she is a size 10. We arent really sure what to do either. Just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and I can sympathize with you. Hang in there!!!!!
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More than the clothes issue I'd be concerned about the repeated bladder infection and what might be causing that. I don't mean to be cynical but do you know who all her caregivers are? Is it just lack of proper cleanliness or could there be sexual abuse? Is she able to tell you about opif there was? As for the clothes just take her around with you garage sale shopping once in a while and tell her that she needs to get rid of some if she wants to buy more. It's probably just fun for her to shop.
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Emma, why don't you take some of her clothes home with you. Then when you return in a couple of weeks you bring one or two "New" items with you in a store shopping bag.
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Emma, my mother has racks and racks of clothes that she never wears. She often complains she doesn't have anything to wear. In her case I believe it is because she no longer understands about looking for things. If something is not right in front of her, it doesn't exist. I figured this out a while back when I noticed she couldn't find food that was not front and center in the refrigerator. The concept of looking was lost to her. Mixing and matching clothes or finding something to wear also became difficult for her, particularly because she often sits in her pajamas all day long. Clothes were alien things.

My mother is a hoarder. We have one whole room and several closets filled with clothes that she cannot make herself donate. Buying more clothes is not an option. What works for my mother is simply to say that we had just bought her some clothes, ask her what she is looking for, then direct her to some possibilities. My mother just needs some help with the search.

As a side note -- as many clothes as my mother has, she either wears pajamas or the same three outfits all the time. Go figure.
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