My Dad’s Response to the Suggestion of Adaptive Clothing Surprised Me
Clothing choices can greatly affect independence for Parkinson's patients
I recently discovered that there’s an entire retail market for adaptive clothing, which can help those who struggle to dress themselves in traditional clothing. Some brands make polo shirts or pants that appear standard, but upon further examination, actually have features such as Velcro and magnets. Other brands offer slip-on shoes with decorative laces. These options could be a game changer for those who are battling Parkinson’s disease.
As Parkinson’s progresses, many patients experience worsening tremors, cramps, and other motor symptoms that can cause difficulties completing various tasks. But adaptive shoes and clothing could enable Parkinson’s patients to dress themselves for longer.
When Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2013, he was barely showing any symptoms, except a shaking foot. Nearly 10 years later, he’s still incredibly independent and manages to do almost everything on his own. But his symptoms have worsened. Now, the tremors are more persistent. He gets cramps at odd times, and he struggles with stiffness, especially in the morning.
Because of his progression, I thought Dad might be a good candidate for adaptive wear. So I told him about it.
Dad thanked me for thinking of him, then explained that he might not be ready to swap out his clothes for items with magnetic closures or push snaps. For him, adaptive clothing would serve as a constant reminder of his disease, and he doesn’t always want to think about what the future might look like.
I was a little surprised by Dad’s response. I’d imagined that he would want products that could help simplify his life. Maybe the clothing style would be a reminder of Parkinson’s at first, but wouldn’t he become accustomed to it eventually? To me, it seemed like a natural solution to troubles he’s probably already having.
At the same time, I want him to maintain his independence for as long as he can. I thought adaptive clothing could help him to do just that; I didn’t realize that saying no to it could be another way for him to remain independent. If he chooses to negotiate with standard clothing for a while longer, I think I need to let him.
There may come a day when he’s ready to accept a little help from adaptive clothing or eating technology. But that day isn’t today. And I think it’s my challenge to accept Dad’s wishes.
Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.