So you may want to get a drink in hand for this one.
It may not be your normal fashion piece… bear with me!
Dementia dad has always been obsessed with clothes shoes and fashion. Even when my parents were married they donned matching jumpsuits to attend the local disco and won prizes for the best dancers and the best dressed; it was the 80’s!
In my teenage years post parental divorce we spent all school holidays away from boarding school in our family fun hotel built by my dad in the fabulous Algarve where one day I hope to live again.
It became TUI’s hotel of the year in 1999. I so wish we knew then what we knew now. It featured on tv, in books recommending special secret boutique hotels before there was such a thing!
I digress .. so within this beautiful hotel he lived on the top floor complete with a personal study, lounge and a bathroom so big I could fit my downstairs in there was also a dressing room which contained 8 large (3 doors per unit) walk in wardrobes. All mirrored because it was the late 80’s! All outfits were matched when hanging. We had staff who were more than happy to assist in this matching shizzle. I do recall visiting his favourite clothes shop where they flocked around him as he proclaimed that he didn’t like a particular shirt as it only had long sleeves. Go have lunch they said, and when you have eaten well then you can return to us and the shirt will be short sleeved! He did the same with a pair of trousers too! We ate well, went back and sure enough the long sleeve shirt and trousers were now shorts and a short sleeve shirt number.
I now know where I got my love for all things clothes/shoes/makeup/shopping from. I get huge pleasure from it all so I understand why he carries on as he does. I also understand that as it is something he’s always done he continues to do.
So you may get the idea by now that clothes were his thing. In truth male grooming/maintenance were too. He was never embarrassed to take care of himself. An avid Botox lover who openly admitted to dying his hair he then had a face lift 10 years ago. I can confim his levels of vanity from this alone.
So dementia added into the mix and his shopping continues. We don’t know our size anymore. We carry on regardless. He doesn’t know the difference between the male and female section but carry on shopping we go. He cannot tell the difference between a charity shop or a conventional shop and yet he still buys. What we have discovered is that he is obsessed with Primark. So much so he says that he wants to go into business with them. Only last week he asked if I could get in touch with them.
So purchased this week.
1. Primark. Pants; the obsession continues with this particular garment. We have over 50 pairs. More jeans with buttons he simply cannot do up. Short to wear for bed and more socks. I have lost count of those!
2. Charity shop (name unknown). Trousers with a 42 inch waist; he’s no where near that. A pair of ladies cords size 14. A game of thrones hoodie and a couple of blazers.
Smelling nice is/was something he has also been very conscious of. For birthdays aftershave is all I buy now as he is very hard to buy for to say the least. This said he has decided that the house air freshener is his smell of choose. Whom am I to argue?
So how does one dress with dementia. So last week we had back to front jeans no pants and an open fly to which he bent over and I fell about in hysterics. The back to front dressing continues. As does layering. We have established that sometimes we add pants over pyjama bottoms and then add jeans. Akin to the Michelin man..then shirts. Albeit hard to do up they are super easy to put on. As the day progresses and the outfits change I am yet to work out how the shirt comes off. Lady friend maybe?
Shoes. So over the last year we have had to remove/hide all laced shoes. We decided to intervene when I found that dad could no longer undo laces and had simply cut himself out of his shoes. All his shoes are either Gucci or Dolce & Gabbana. I bough him some hardy Chelsea boots due to the lacing incident. Now remembering the issues that we have with dressing imagine my surprise today when I watched him simply put on his favourite Gucci numbers and do them up!
So if you’re looking for some high street fashion advice look no further because my dad doesn’t seem to give a hoot anymore but seems to be having fun none the less.
And don’t worry I have taken the 42 inch waist trousers and will upcycle then when I am next near a charity shop. At least he’s done his bit for both the environment and the economy!
Here is some back to front dressing incase that’s your thing…