It seems that as we get older we begin to forget faces, names, followed by pulling up our zippers then pulling our zippers down. However, I caution not to stand too close to strangers lest we forget which is our own zipper and pull someone else’s down!
As I said before, it’s hard being a woman keeping it all together balancing family, career, and Parkinson’s disease. We have a hard enough time getting up getting dressed and showing up on time where we need to be because our clumsy, shaky, dystonic hands make it difficult for us at times to use traditional garment closures such as small buttons. So in order to make our lives easier we have to learn to compromise and use our creativity and find garments which are both stylish yet practical to wear. My wardrobe has changed only in the types of closures I seek when I purchase my clothes without sacrificing style.
For instance, no more small buttons- they are a death trap. So here are the essential closures I have found that work for those of us who have Parkinson’s and other chronic dexterity issues caused by various illnesses like arthritis etc.
1) Buttons are a fantastic addition to any piece of clothing and can add personality since they come in all colors, shapes, styles, materials, textures, and sizes. The use of large buttons and fewer ones may be all you need to secure your beautiful garments. These can also work in combination with the next essential closure -ties!
2) Zippers are every Parkinson’s woman friend; I know that ever since I got diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease the number of zippers has greatly increased in my own personal wardrobe. Zippers are great on almost anything especially sweaters, and blouses. they are not as convenient in pants and skirts, unless they are placed in the front of the garment. There are simpler and easier ways to wear pants, skirts and dresses without zippers. The answers to these types of clothing are other types of closures which we will discuss next such as elastic, ties and even Velcro. Zippers also come in all lengths styles and colors. I prefer those with large pulls or tabs and those that are placed in the center of the blouses skirts or sweaters…side zippers I find are quite difficult to use especially in pants but can be helpful in putting on blouses if zippers are placed on the side in the bottom half of garment. I now try to avoid back zippers since they are also difficult to manage on my own particularly if the tab is small.
3) Ties are extremely practical and fast to get in and out of particularly for those of us who have disabilities or take care of loved ones with end-stage Parkinson’s disease or any other terminal chronic neurological disease. Although, tie closures may at times need a secondary closure. For instance, tie dresses like the ones above may require a snap button at the bust to keep secure. The beauty of tie closures is that they are extremely versatile can be seen in dresses, blouses, ponchos, skirts and many other types of garments from leisurely clothes to evening wear. I have a variety of these in my wardrobe …I particularly like the ponchos and skirts to have ties because they are easy to put on and pull off. Ties can be used alone or in combination usually with snaps as I stated previously.
4) Snaps are the best friends of any caregiver and person with neurological impediments. I prefer the larger snap buttons which do not require as much manual dexterity and can be pulled apart very easily. To make care giving easier in dressing those that have frequent bladder issues, wheelchair or bed bound back snaps are a great solution. These can be installed on dresses, blouses, women’s gowns, sweaters, t-shirts which are only but a few of the examples one could put this practical closure to use.
5) Hooks are another one of my favorite closures. They are stylish plus come in various sizes and shapes which give a unique look and personality to your wear. Couture garments usually come with large hooks. These is my favorites type of closure for outer wear clothing.
6) Velcro can be used on pants, shoes and even shirts which use VELCRO® brand hook and loop fasteners to aid those of us with stiff, shaky, dyskenetic fingers to dress ourselves independently. this type of closure can not only expedite the daily dressing routines but also make care giving easier when dressing someone that is extremely rigid. I love my new style of shoes which have Velcro. Also they are extremely practical, plus you don’t have to compromise style because of it. Further, if you have bladder urgency and frequency Velcro comes extremely handy if applied to pants especially to the garments of loved ones who are bed bound.
7) Elastic particularly in slacks or pants and skirts are extremely easy for woman with hand tremors, dystonia or dyskinesia to pull on. All of us with Parkinson’s should have a at least a couple of garments with an elastic waist. However, I must caution against wearing these solely because, as all of us who have worked in the medical profession know, it is extremely easy to gain weight when there are no constricting force around the waist to remind you to not overindulge!