We usually talk about grieving when we lose a loved one, when a romantic relationship ends, when we lose a pet or when a job we loved comes to an end. We also talk about grieving when it comes to loss of autonomy whether related to physical limitations or cognitive losses.
The dictionary defines grief as something that causes distress, suffering. It is the internal meaning we give to the experience of loss, whether it be someone, or something. It is a necessary part of a change process that will eventually allow us to reinvest these feelings, this energy somewhere else. But it takes time to get there, and sometimes, we don’t have much time, at least not as much as we would like to go at our own pace.
When a loved one experiences a loss of physical or cognitive autonomy, a myriad of grieving processes take place both on their part as well as by those that surround them. The most obvious grief has to do with the physical or cognitive changes the person affected will have to go through as well as the impact these changes will have on our interactions with them. Whether it is not being able to walk due to paralysis, no longer having all of your motor skills following a stroke, having difficulty performing some daily tasks due to arthritis or Parkinson’s disease which limits the fluidity of joint movements or cognitive loss brought on by Alzheimer’s or dementia, each new stage of the disease that means we are no longer able to function as we did before marks a new step in our grieving process.
Taking time to grieve, also goes for clothes
What about the grief that we are less used to hearing about? The growing demand for adaptive clothing by care facilities has brought to light another type of grieving; grieving the ability to wear our usual clothes. Grieving shopping in the places where we are used to buying the top that will soon become our favorite top, the dress we will wear to our granddaughter’s graduation, the new shirt we will wear at the family dinner or even the sleepwear that we will want to lounge in a little longer before dressing for the day ahead.
Rest assured, everyone pretty much feels the same way, it is very rare that people choose to wear adaptive clothes right off the bat. However, they do take a liking to them after having tried them because although their primary objective is to facilitate dressing people with reduced mobility or cognitive loss, we have to admit they are designed with carefully selected fabrics that respect their style and personality. So why deprive yourself of tops, shirts, dresses and sleepwear that have complete back openings that require limited physical effort as you only have to slightly extend your arms forward to put them on rather than have to go through the sometimes complex gymnastics of putting them over your head and somehow slide your arms into the tighter tops. And what about pants with side openings or with back panels that allow you to put them on while sitting or lying down? They may not quite look like ‘regular’ pants in terms of their design, but once they are properly fitted, you will forget that they are adaptive clothing.
At Ovidis, we understand that wearing adaptive clothes may take a little getting used to, and that there is some type of grief associated with them. As such, we will be happy to discuss with you and explain how each of the adjustments made to the clothes greatly help facilitate the task of dressing for you or your loved ones.