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Patients with dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease, may not recognize that their clothes are dirty. They may see the food stains and discoloration of the clothes and yet because of their agnosia are unable to integrate these observations and deduce that their clothes are dirty and need to be changed. They will, therefore, resist attempts to get them to change clothes, especially if these clothes happen to be their favorite ones. This often causes caregivers to become frustrated, especially, if it represents a change in the patient’s previous habits of only wearing clean clothes. In this case study, we present a 72-year-old woman with moderate Alzheimer’s disease who lives with her daughter, who adamantly refuses to change the clothes she has been wearing for a few days and which are now clearly dirty. We report the interaction, highlight what went wrong in the patient–daughter interaction, and discuss how the catastrophic ending could have been avoided or averted.

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© The Author(s) 2018. This document was originally published in Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License