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Rejection of Clothes/Gifts

MrsMoose

Registered User
Oct 1, 2014
152
Do other people find that the gifts which the person with dementia has agreed to/asked for, suddenly become 'the wrong thing.'

My father-in-law has not been able to go out and buy clothes for many years, so everything he has has become worn and shabby. We asked if he'd like a couple of new shirts, and bought stuff that was the agreed size. (The smallest collar size He was never a tall man and he''s diminished in height. He can't be much more than 5 foot now, and there's no muscle to him.) We'd also agreed on a new dressing gown. The existing one was 30 years old, and the fabric is simultaneously worn thin, and stiff like a boiled blanket.

I think he wore one of the shirts once, but has complained that it is too small - and has not worn the dressing gown at all.

In the scale of things, it is not really a problem - but it is sad do see him wearing these ancient worn-out clothes, which may also be quite stained.

There's an issue with trousers too. Again he doesn't want new ones, but the old ones which are dry-clean only. As he is short-sighted and frail, he spills food on his clothes quite a lot.

Any thoughts on this one
 

Pegsdaughter

Registered User
Oct 7, 2014
128
London
Would it be possible to remove say the dressing gown and replace it with the new one and tell him the old dressing gown fell to bits in the wash. If that works gradually replace the worn clothing with new. Just a thought. When my daughter was a teenager she had favourite clothes which were barely respectable and I made sure they became unwearable. Not quite the same I know but she quickly forgot them.


Sent from my iPad using Talking Point
 

Katrine

Registered User
Jan 20, 2011
2,839
England
I have found that MIL will accept charity shop clothes more readily than new ones. This is because the fabric feels softer.
 

Risa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2015
482
Essex
Mum doesn't like new clothing and if we have to introduce anything, it is just put in the wardrobe without making a fuss about it being new and most often purchased without Mum being present (she does get stressed out in shops). The item it is replacing is quietly spirited away.

We had success that way with some cardigans but Mum refuses to wear her new slippers, she insists on wearing outdoor shoes all the time. We've let that go as we've learnt to pick our battles :D
 

marionq

Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
6,032
Scotland
John likes brushed cotton shirts as they feel soft. I usually buy the checked country casual style. At one time it was easy to buy them from M & S but they don't do them now so I bought several last week from Edinburgh Woollen Mill which had a sale on. Let your FIL feel the softness of the fabric. It also helps when people tell him how good he looks. In fact as we go in to his Thursday day centre one of the girls always calls out "Hello handsome".

It makes us laugh but he loves it.
 

cragmaid

Registered User
Oct 18, 2010
7,941
North East England
Accept that once paid for, they will never be returned so put them through the wash, once or twice before presenting. This softens them and makes them smell more familiar. Remove and replace the old things one or two at a time....make no comment. Try washing the Dry Clean only trousers on a gentle wash, but don't put them through a tumble dryer. I find most DCO clothes can be washed .I also found a hot iron a useful tool..." Oh Mum, my iron is heating up too much and it burned your pink jumper, but I've got you this one to replace it. Oh you do suit that colour.":rolleyes::rolleyes: Zips can become broken too.;);)

Make sure that you give them as little chance to refuse the new clothes as possible. Don't ask his opinion, just put the new in the place of the old.

Tell him that his trousers need to go to the cleaners, don't bring them back......

I became very adept at disguising the truth.:D
 

CJinUSA

Registered User
Jan 20, 2014
1,121
eastern USA
My mother refused everything new that we gave her. I just took the tags off, washed them up, and pulled out of use the things I was replacing. She would say "Where is my favorite blouse?" and I'd say the washer tore it, and I couldn't fix it, try as I might because I knew she loved it.

She is now only in pajamas, because it's easier for us, and at first she didn't like being in pjs all day, but now she says they are cozy. Praising how she looks in them when she has fresh ones on helps a lot.

I miss the days when she was ambulatory and cared about how she looked! When she moved in, she was still using makeup! (I never did, so this helped me get her to stop with that.)
 

AnneED

Registered User
Feb 19, 2012
80
East Yorkshire UK
Not related to dementia but:
When my father in law had a stroke and could no longer speak or move on his own he moved into a home. We tried his very traditional wardrobe which he'd worn all his life (formal shirts and trousers) and he no longer wanted them as they were too hard for him to wear, and didn't fit properly.

We ended up buying him lots of polo shirts (with his name on! Good for him as he could no longer speak, and the home knew whose they were without tags) from Landsend, together with their tracksuit bottoms. He loved them - maybe they felt a bit sporty - and were very easy to wash, and easy for him to put on and off with his carers . Nice soft cotton mix fabric; not expensive.
 

Amy in the US

Registered User
Feb 28, 2015
4,617
USA
Do other people find that the gifts which the person with dementia has agreed to/asked for, suddenly become 'the wrong thing.'

YES! Mrs Moose, I have absolutely been there with my mother and know what you're talking about. Sometimes it feels like I am being punished for trying to do the right thing (my aunt has a saying about "no good deed goes unpunished). While I know that's not actually the case, it can certainly seem that way.

We have had this difficulty with my mother with clothes, her mattress, mattress pad, sheets, duvet/blankets, pillows, towels, and I don't remember what else.

It took me a while to figure out things that other posters here have said, but here is what works for me:

-don't make any kind of fuss about replacing or bringing new items. I either slip them into her wardrobe/drawers when she is not looking, or just leave them where she will see them. If she says, where was that, or where did that come from? I always say, it was probably in the wash. After a few minutes, she will either say, it was in the wash, or something else accepting.

-if I do buy her something new, I wash it a number of times before giving it to her. I also buy the softest possible items (pima or supima cotton nighties only now). Something about the dementia (my mother has Alzheimer's and no short term memory) has caused her to be incredibly sensitive to how things feel. She says that "the laundry" must starch her pants because "they feel like iron" (she always wants me to feel her pants, which is...another topic entirely). We had a weeks-long palaver I posted about on TP last year about towels; we got a phone call one day saying she couldn't take a shower because she couldn't lift the towels because they were too heavy; I eventually figured out they were too soft and plush (silly me, to buy her nice, new towels). She won't use the duvet on her bed because it's also too heavy (and wants me to try to pick it up, but says I won't be able to, because it's so heavy, I will hurt myself). She regularly requests a new mattress pad on her bed because she "can feel the mattress, and it hurts." It just goes on and I do feel for her but there is only so much I can do.

-I try not to get upset about the stains (this is difficult). One of her favourite tops is stained and I'd love to bin it, but try to resist.

-I have already purchased duplicates of some of her favourite items

-understand that my mother can't accept what size she is (she is heavier than ever before in her life, but insists that her clothes should be a size or two smaller than what she needs now) and cut out/cover the sizes wherever possible. She doesn't like tags that "itch" so I would be removing them anyway.

Mercifully my mother was already wearing and loving the pull-up, elastic waist "perfect" something or other trousers from Land's End, the cotton knit sort, and will only wear black or dark grey, which hide stains. She has one pair with a hole that I've been trying to get away from her to see if they can be repaired, but she won't part with them. It's not worth the angst right now.

Perhaps at some point your FIL will begin to have difficulty with his old trousers (I mean in terms of the zip/button/whatever fastening, and the need to get them off quickly for toileting) and you will be able to substitute something else. Until then, I am not sure I have suggestions, unless they were to "disappear" or get a tear or hole that "can't be patched." I see track suit bottoms suggested here a lot.

I also wash a lot of dry clean only items in my front-loading washer, on gentle, and have no trouble. I am not sure I'd try this with men's dress trousers, but if they are already old and worn, it might not hurt them any. I'd air-dry them, though.

I suppose I'm saying that I've been there, and it's difficult, and I'm sorry.

I am also inclined to tell you to just replace things and not draw attention to it, and if he asks or comments, just say that the other item is "at the cleaners" or something. It could be "at the cleaners" or "in the laundry" forever, if you need it to be.

I'm sorry if nothing here is helpful, but please know you're not alone in this.
 

father ted

Registered User
Aug 16, 2010
698
London
Do other people find that the gifts which the person with dementia has agreed to/asked for, suddenly become 'the wrong thing.'

I have experienced this, my Mum has no interest in shopping now and can't be bothered to try on clothes as she finds it exhausting. CHristmas and birthdays we buy her clothes in styles she would like as she has always been very smart but now they just get put in the wardrobe still in their bags. If I question why she hasn't worn them she says she is saving them for best (she is 90) and yet will wear the same things over and over again and be oblivious to stains or marks on them and if I point them out she says I'm too fussy! I let it go and very occasionally stuff that she does ask me to wash either 'shrinks or rips' in the wash therefore necessitates her wearing something new.
 

Tessi

Registered User
Aug 9, 2014
26
Do other people find that the gifts which the person with dementia has agreed to/asked for, suddenly become 'the wrong thing.'

YES! Mrs Moose, I have absolutely been there with my mother and know what you're talking about. Sometimes it feels like I am being punished for trying to do the right thing (my aunt has a saying about "no good deed goes unpunished). While I know that's not actually the case, it can certainly seem that way.

We have had this difficulty with my mother with clothes, her mattress, mattress pad, sheets, duvet/blankets, pillows, towels, and I don't remember what else.

It took me a while to figure out things that other posters here have said, but here is what works for me:

-don't make any kind of fuss about replacing or bringing new items. I either slip them into her wardrobe/drawers when she is not looking, or just leave them where she will see them. If she says, where was that, or where did that come from? I always say, it was probably in the wash. After a few minutes, she will either say, it was in the wash, or something else accepting.

-if I do buy her something new, I wash it a number of times before giving it to her. I also buy the softest possible items (pima or supima cotton nighties only now). Something about the dementia (my mother has Alzheimer's and no short term memory) has caused her to be incredibly sensitive to how things feel. She says that "the laundry" must starch her pants because "they feel like iron" (she always wants me to feel her pants, which is...another topic entirely). We had a weeks-long palaver I posted about on TP last year about towels; we got a phone call one day saying she couldn't take a shower because she couldn't lift the towels because they were too heavy; I eventually figured out they were too soft and plush (silly me, to buy her nice, new towels). She won't use the duvet on her bed because it's also too heavy (and wants me to try to pick it up, but says I won't be able to, because it's so heavy, I will hurt myself). She regularly requests a new mattress pad on her bed because she "can feel the mattress, and it hurts." It just goes on and I do feel for her but there is only so much I can do.

-I try not to get upset about the stains (this is difficult). One of her favourite tops is stained and I'd love to bin it, but try to resist.

-I have already purchased duplicates of some of her favourite items

-understand that my mother can't accept what size she is (she is heavier than ever before in her life, but insists that her clothes should be a size or two smaller than what she needs now) and cut out/cover the sizes wherever possible. She doesn't like tags that "itch" so I would be removing them anyway.

Mercifully my mother was already wearing and loving the pull-up, elastic waist "perfect" something or other trousers from Land's End, the cotton knit sort, and will only wear black or dark grey, which hide stains. She has one pair with a hole that I've been trying to get away from her to see if they can be repaired, but she won't part with them. It's not worth the angst right now.

Perhaps at some point your FIL will begin to have difficulty with his old trousers (I mean in terms of the zip/button/whatever fastening, and the need to get them off quickly for toileting) and you will be able to substitute something else. Until then, I am not sure I have suggestions, unless they were to "disappear" or get a tear or hole that "can't be patched." I see track suit bottoms suggested here a lot.

I also wash a lot of dry clean only items in my front-loading washer, on gentle, and have no trouble. I am not sure I'd try this with men's dress trousers, but if they are already old and worn, it might not hurt them any. I'd air-dry them, though.

I suppose I'm saying that I've been there, and it's difficult, and I'm sorry.

I am also inclined to tell you to just replace things and not draw attention to it, and if he asks or comments, just say that the other item is "at the cleaners" or something. It could be "at the cleaners" or "in the laundry" forever, if you need it to be.

I'm sorry if nothing here is helpful, but please know you're not alone in this.
This is an interesting thing about things being too "heavy". Last year my mum continually complained that her handbag was too heavy so for Christmas I bought her a lovely new lightweight one. This has vanished into the wardrobe never to be seen again! She regularly asks me to feel the weight of her coat etc. because they are too heavy.
 

Amy in the US

Registered User
Feb 28, 2015
4,617
USA
Tessi, it's reassuring to me, to hear others report on the "heavy" issue as well. I'm sorry about the handbag!

I have figured out that when my mother says "heavy" she is sometimes using it as a word to describe something tactile, or how something feels, that I think she no longer has the language for, or cannot express any other way.

Initially I thought she literally meant "heavy" as she has arthritis and this affects her grip strength in her hands. Her winter duvet was both thick and heavy and I thought perhaps she could no longer pull it up over her, when she was in bed.

But sometimes she will say that something quite small and lightweight, is heavy, and so I think she must mean it's too thick or too scratchy or itches or just that it feels strange in some way to her. I could probably spend a lot of my time trying to "fix" the things that are heavy...but I don't think I would ever manage it.