Raise your hand if you enjoy wearing clothes that are uncomfortable.
I tell my husband, “We should not think about our underwear, socks or shoes during the process of the day. They should only come to mind when it is time to put on PJs.” If you are spending time thinking about your clothing items, they probably are not fitting well.
I know all about blue jeans that can cut off circulation, and I can tell you about skin rashes from metal in buttons or snaps. I have the strangest skin, and I can react to a piece of clothing I have worn 100 times. It just isn’t fun.
When dementia is present, the skin becomes even more sensitive. Fat pads leave the body, and the skin is much closer to the nerves. (In my case, I am relatively sure the fat pads will never leave my body!! Just saying!) This causes the skin to react in ways not previously experience.
Momma has mid-stage Alzheimer’s. We have recently discovered that anything the least bit tight on her arms will cause her frustration. Frustration leads to confusion. Confusion leads to sadness or anger. All these emotions brought on by a shirt that was too tight. THROW THE SHIRT AWAY. A shirt is never worth forfeiting happiness.
While I very much want Momma to wear pretty clothes, have an up to date haircut, and apply foundation and blush and lipstick, I more so want her to smile. If uncomfortable clothing is keeping her from smiling, all the foundation and blush and lipstick in Texas won’t make life better for her.
Carol Howell is a Certified Dementia Specialist and Endorsed Life Coach with an emphasis on Creative Music Experiences. After her husband’s closed-head injury in 1996 and her mother’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s in 2006, Carol began her study of the brain and the various forms of dementia that exist. Through her not-for profit company, Senior Life Journeys, she is actively involved in the lives of individuals who are caregiving for a loved-one with dementia as she helps them develop caregiving techniques. Carol’s latest book, Let’s Talk Dementia-A Caregiver’s Guide, is an Amazon #1 Best Seller, and it is an easy to read guide for caregivers of individuals with dementia. She also wrote the best seller If My Body Is A Temple, Why Am I Eating Doughnuts? It tells of the amazing miracle that caused her to lose 100 pounds. You can follow her blog—Something to Ponder—at www.seniorlifejourneys.com.