Day 3 of posts on the theme of caregiving. Do you help someone get dressed in the morning? Truth is, I have trouble getting dressed most mornings. Yoga pants are the best, probably for doing yoga too, which I never do.
Let’s face it. Most of the time, for most people, clothing is a necessity of life. I’m thankful for that. But I know from personal experience that clothing can be a frustration as well. Clothing, done well, is a learned skill.
I’ve always bought clothes for my husband – he never thought he had time for shopping – but he always dressed himself fairly well. That is, until he started dealing with Lewy Body Dementia.
The first thing we learned was that pants with belts, snaps, buttons or zippers were not going to work. Putting the belt through all those loops was a frustrating chore. Those kinds of pants weren’t very comfortable for napping either. We learned that flexible, knit pants, elastic waists, and material that doesn’t drag on the bedsheets was our “go to” combination. We bought numerous pair of pajama pants at Walmart and he wears them everywhere. No one cares.
Ample sizing became the rule for everything from socks to underwear, because tight things are hard to put on. It’s so much easier to find the armholes of shirts and jackets when they have a loose fit. Again, clothing like that is easier to sleep in too.
I have learned the hard way that an important caretaking job is the final inspection before heading out. More times than I want to remember I have looked at the husband, often when we are late leaving for an appointment, and discovered some stain on his shirt front, his jacket buttoned up wrong, his fly unbuttoned, his pant legs caught in his socks, and hair/dandruff/stuff all over his shoulders. He’s mentally much better than he looks, but he doesn’t see the dishevelment because of his macular degeneration (and general disregard of propriety which he has always had). Fixing him up is a caretaking job.
Other thoughts on making clothes easy:
Have extra clean clothes along on any outing.
Slip on shoes.
Light weight shirt jackets – he loves the quilted, down ones.
When you find something that works well, buy two or three of them.
The same general rules of simplicity and sizing go for women too.
There are a lot of small, daily decisions to make in life. What to wear is one of those decisions that we have a lot of control over. I think we should not make it hard. There is a reason they put you in those awful gowns at the doctor’s office, and the hospital. That’s how they make it easy. Thankfully we don’t have to go that far, just sayin’…