She has mild Parkinson’s and is able to do quite a bit for herself. At times, she insists on wearing clothes that she had trouble putting on or taking off. Which means needing help every time she uses the bathroom. I am not going to dress her because I don’t want her to become dependent on someone constantly doing for her when she can do it. DH and I are in agreement on this. She gets mad at me if she wears something, like leggings, and I don’t help her pull them on. I will put her clothes on, over her feet and pull up to her knees because she has trouble in that area. She can do the rest. I also put on her shoes and socks for her because she can’t.

Therapist say let her do as much as she can. They also said her clothes should be easy on easy off for her.

Shes mad at me today because of this.

Am I wrong to make her do what I know she can do?

MIL is 84. She was diagnosed over 2 years ago. She also has mild dementia and hallucinations. She is on meds and sees a Parkinson’s specialist. She does have several pairs of easy, pull on pants. They are nice looking. She also has light weight sweat pants. She has no trouble getting them on or off. She needs no help with them at all. He tops are pull over style, which she can also do herself. I help with tennis shoes and socks, which she was advised to wear for support because of her balance. She can’t really bend over well enough to do this. However, there have been times she has done it herself.
The things I know she had trouble with, I help her with. But when she gets it in her head that she is going to wear something I know is not easy for her, I try to steer her in a different direction, which is when she gets mad. It’s not my place to get rid of her things, so I try to put them out of site. She still finds them. I packed up boxes of her clothes I know are not appropriate for her to wear because of her inability to put them on herself. She agreed with me doing this. However, we went through the, you are taking away all my stuff after it was done. It’s not gone, just packed away.
I make sure she takes her meds on time. The alarm on her phone goes off when it’s time, but she shuts it off and ignores it. I wait to see if she’s going to take the meds, but she doesn’t. I even comment it’s pill time, but she ignores it, so I get it for her.
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Reply to Hangin

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Reply to Janus12

I was just dxed with cancer last week. I don't know yet how the treatment is going to be, but I do know that I will be "down" 3-4 days a week.

I went online and googled "loungewear/nightgowns" for women and got literally thousands of options.

I chose 4--different styles, fabrics and colors. They all have deep pockets, all are mid calf (but I'm 5'2' and a mid calf hits me a few inches longer. Just don't want any tripping hazards.) Hubby will be doing the laundry and these are all pretty much impervious to lackadaisical laundry efforts. :)

So far, so good. NONE of them look like nightgowns, they are thicker fabric and I know I can go to the door w/o feeling like I have to throw on a robe. One actually is quite 'dressy' and is supposedly a 'dress-dress'--but the style is too casual for going out.

I will get a couple of soft bras (forget the underwire for a few months!) and many of those are front fastening.

Made sure I have plenty of room so when I'm lying down, nothing pinches or rides up.

My thinking is that if I have to spend a lot of time in bed--I may as well feel like I don't look too sick.

And leggings? I can pull those on (I'm only 62) but it's so hot here all summer I can't imagine anything worse!

If MIL wants to feel more 'dressed up' for the day--I have a lot of cute earrings, necklaces and bangle bracelets. And the worse I feel--the more trouble I take with my makeup. Esp a bright lip.

I have to wear a walking shoe that helps with the severe arthritis in my feet. Hanging around the house, I have 2 pairs of super comfy, arch supportive Birkenstocks.

Even my mom, who is all but completely dependent on others to help her get 'dressed up' will go to the 'housecoat' for day to day.

The only thing I am totally opposed to (and I know this is ridiculous) is the sleeveless 'duster" type outfit. I have those droopy, fat upper arms that flap around--to me that is an absolute NO. It takes away from any idea that these 'loungewear' dresses are helping me feel better about how I will look.
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Reply to Midkid58

NO. u r not wrong. She should be doing it for herself.
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Reply to Stephanie4181

She may prefer the leggings because they are "pull up" style, with no zippers. etc. Easier for her to pull down and pull back up, for bathroom functions.

She may not know or understand that she can have less "tight" pull-up style pants.

I don't know your budget. And, I don't know if you would have to "shorten" something you buy off the rack. But, I do know that Walmart and Amazon (Amazon Essentials) have loose fitting almost 100% cotton pull up pants, which may be in "activewear" or even in "lingerie" but they are just fine (even I buy them for myself, as hang around the house things), and we bought my mother several pairs. We did have to get the Walmart ones shortened. If budget is not a issue, try Chico's. If there is one where you live. Won't be 100% cotton --- probably will be rayon/polyester -- but should be washable. And, not just plain colors.

I sympathize with you. My mother had so many thing she insisted on wearing that were wrong for her, mostly too long --- she tripped over them. My mother had a favorite bathrobe, from 30 years ago, that was too long, and she refused to stop wearing it, and she tripped over it, and ended up with two compression fractures. I finally went against her wishes and took it away and had it shortened at the alterations place. And, she had about 5 sleeveless long house dresses, pretty, but too long, and I stopped listening to her and took them to my apartment and used pinking sheers to lop off 4 inches from the bottom. She probably paid $15 each for them 15 years before. No way I was using her money to get them shortened.

Also, I had to fight to take away shoes with high heels, or skinny wedge type unstable heels.

Truth is, I waited too long to just say "" and take away what was dangerous for her and not worry about her being mad at me.

When she moved to a NH, she had been wearing an expensive bangle-type bracelet that she loved, but she was always banging her wrist on surfaces, and because she is on blood thinners, causing bruising all the time. It's just another thing that I had given up fighting about. But, finally, even though she wanted to hit me, I literally forced it off her wrist. Now, no more bruising and skin breakage on her wrist, where she used to wear that bracelet.

It's not fun. But, trust me. If you keep letting the person who is insisting on things that are harmful to herself control it all, and she harms herself from not wearing more appropriate and safer clothing, it's not going to make you feel better that you gave in to her.
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Reply to anonymous903302

I know exactly what you are dealing with. My Husband has Parkinson's, diagnosed 6 years ago. For awhile I was helping him dress, then after a visit with his neurologist, who prescribed PT for a month, his mobility increased and fall risk decreased dramatically. So, I quit dressing him and he has managed on his own quite well, even getting his night time Depends on. He still wants to wear his Wrangler jeans, but they are no longer an option as zippers and buttons are very discouraging. He is slowly opting for sweat pants and shorts (now that it is getting hot in south Texas). So I would say ease her into looser fitting garments, letting her dress herself as much as possible. They get so stiff in their muscles and joints, any stretching movements are going to be helpful. If she insists on the leggings, then tell her she has to put them on by herself, and let her do it no matter how long it takes. She will tire of the struggle and you can introduce looser fitting garments. Good luck to you, and prayers, it is a long, difficult journey
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Reply to crzyhorseldy

You’re not wrong at all! She needs some easy on/off clothing so that she can at least feel good about her ability to dress herself. Slip on/slide on footwear is something she might do better with too.

My opinion only of course.. function would become the priority over fashion, comfort would be #1
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Reply to star97

I had to help Luz, DW, dress. In the beginning it was minor help. Later it became major help. She would do what she could, like the final pull of her slacks. She always missed a button on her blouse, so I would make a funny of it and straighten it out for her. Her shoe were a problem for her, so that was a big deal for us. She would not sit down to put her slacks on. Instead she would lean on mee as I helped her get each of her legs into the slacks.
This became a ritual any time we went out. The rest of the time she only wore a tee shirt and protective underwear. I let her do what she could and would do what was necessary to complete the job.
I would talk to her thru the whole ordeal to try to get her to relax a little. But I still would let her do what she could. I never wanted to strip her of her ability to do what she could. But then Luz was pretty far gone with this disease and non-verbal, which did not help.
I would also agree that the leggings must go. Loose fitting with elastic waist, I think, would be best for her.
If she still wears a bra, good. If she were to quit wearing one, then look into the LaMaze bras for comfort, gentle support and to ensure no fungal infection under her breasts. Luz loved those bras. Hated the sports bras. Fungal infection cleared up and did not return.
We did not make it an ordeal but a little game and humorous event.
I hope this helps you some and best of luck.
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Reply to OldSailor
JoAnn29 May 25, 2019
My Mom had the same problem. She couldn't go without a bra or she would break out and it took forever to clear up.
How old is your MIL? Any health problems besides the Parkinson's? When was the Parkinson's diagnosed?

There are actually two important people's welfare to consider here. It's very sweet of you to have put MIL's first, and of course that's the caregiving priority, but there is also yours. You do not want to teach your MIL to be helpless not only because it's bad for her but also because you're going to be giving her quite enough of your time in future without volunteering before you have to.

The point of maintaining independence - apart from mobility and activity, which you can deal with differently - is to protect your MIL's morale. Feeling helpless and dependent generally is pretty depressing for adults. But. If wearing her preferred clothes is important, if she doesn't take to the track athlete look, for example, and it makes her feel wretched, there is equally an argument for helping her to stay herself for as long as possible. It's not that straightforward.

Making her do what she can do... not, you're not wrong, but again it's not simple (as I expect you know better than I do). A lot will depend on what sort of day she's having, and how hard you push it, and what you say to her about it, and also - the reason I asked when she was diagnosed - how long she's had to adjust to the idea of living with Parkinson's.

The therapists are right, and you are right, and I hope in time MIL will come to agree that conserving her abilities is important. But I think you should suit her and yourself on any given day, and go for whatever compromises are best for the two of you. No point doing the right thing if it makes a lousy, bad-tempered start to the day.
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Reply to Countrymouse

When you say that she can do certain things, how do you know she can do them at a given time? Since, she has Parkinson's, I explore all that could be going on that may not be obvious. That disease can affect one's ability to move in certain ways, cause muscle rigidity,poor coordination, loss of balance, It also can affect the brain's ability to use good judgment. So, I'd question if she is really able to discern what garments work well and what she really can handle. Just because a person can move their hands, doesn't mean they can move them in ways that they want to at a given time when their brain and limbs are not cooperating.

If it's not possible to assist her with the leggings, then, I'd likely insist that she switch to another option. If not, I'd likely tolerate for as long as possible. Why is she so attached to the leggings? Would she accept a good substitute that might be easier to get on and off. What about some looser fitting yoga pants that have larger foot openings?
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Reply to Sunnygirl1

Leggings are difficult in general for anyone to navigate. Are there easier types of clothing available? My Stroke affected relative has 10 pairs of the same 2019 assembled and purchased Champion men's-sweatpants, color black with the orange logo/name of their favorite college on the left side hip area, purchased online. two months ago, Easy Peasy to pull on and off and age/stroke accessibility appropriate. She has zero decisions to make, always the same looking uniformed outfit. Black because she picked them, and because she (her generation) is convinced black hides (whatever she thinks needs hiding). Stroke relative loves them and I feel it gives her some kind of control. She needs help with her bra, and upper body dressing, because she gets tangled in it. So I would say, to avoid a fall, and to avoid her arms and boobs getting entangled whilst dressing her upper body clothing, Perhaps help her in areas needed. Perhaps make the leggings disappear? I just got the stroke/cva relative's opinion on the 69 year old's choice of clothing, "Leggings?? Ew., old lady saggy butt in leggings would be (physically and mentally) uncomfortable, she's going to scare the children" Stroke/cva relative's favorite saying is "I don't want to scare the children," and "don't get old it sucks." The CVA/stroke affected relative is 45, and warns anyone helping her to look away from her "old lady boobies." The sense of humor is priceless. Stroke/CVA just reminded me that she purchased the 2019 Princeton men's sweatpants so her pants wouldn't fall off in physical therapy, "don't want to scare youngbloods"
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Reply to Screennamed

I agree, she should do as long as she can. Tell her leggings have to go. I think I would have trouble with them at 69. She needs pants with stretch somewhere in the waist. Even front zippers and buttons could cause a problem.
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Reply to JoAnn29

if wearing clothing that she can handle herself and thus retain some independence is wrong...then most of us are wrong most of the time.

does it help to explain to her that this is necessary for her to keep some independence for the long term. Surely she doesn’t want to be stuck needing help for basic daily living.
If reason doesn’t work, then she will just have to be mad because you are doing the right thing for her.
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Reply to Katiekate

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