When we have kids, we know that most clothes usually don’t get worn out before they get grown out of. And then as younger adults, we’re often changing up our clothes because of fashion or life stages. As the caregiver of an aging parent, it’s not unlikely that your parent hasn’t changed her winter coat in 20 years or bought a new pair of winter boots in 10 because her size hasn’t changed at all and/or her desire to follow the latest fashion trend has wavered (if it was ever there!).
Because of these reasons, it’s important that as colder weather approaches, either you or a trusted elderly care provider, takes inventory of what cold-weather clothes your parent is using and makes sure it’s still in good condition to safely protect your parent against the elements when he ventures away from the home. Even if your parent doesn’t really participate in outdoor activities, a car ride with his elderly care provider to the local market should have him wearing clothes that can protect him if they have an unforeseen accident or car failure along the way. Let’s look at some cold weather clothes that should be reviewed every year.
Since winter brings icy sidewalks and slippery driveways, boots should be given top priority in being monitored for their quality. First review the inside of the boot, making sure any lining doesn’t have holes or seriously worn spots that will not only let in cold and dampness but could cause blisters or pain. Then flip the boot over and look at the treads. Treads should be deep and not worn smooth so that they can grip well. Finally, inspect the outside for laces that still are intact, zippers that can zip and no holes or cracks.
A good coat can be a lifesaver and provide warmth and protection on even the coldest of days. Take a moment to check and make sure all the buttons are still securely attached. If they’re loose, sew them on with added thread. Review zippers as well to make sure your parent won’t get stuck somewhere unable to zip up her jacket. One thing that often gets forgotten are pockets. Pockets can easily develop holes in the lining, causing mittens and gloves to get lost within the lining of the coat, leaving your parent without important hand covering.
Mittens / Gloves
Speaking of mittens and gloves, it’s a great idea to review these as well! Either you, another caregiver or your elderly care professional can check and make sure the inside of your parent’s gloves and mittens are still well insulated, as well as review the outside. Many knit mittens can develop little holes in the stitching that will let moisture and cold in. And if the glove has grips to help with your parent holding onto important items like a cane or package, inspect the grips to make sure they are still developed enough to assist in gripping items.
As you review these winter items, if you see garments that are beyond repair, it’s best to just toss them. Don’t let your parent hold on to them anymore. Insist on either repairing them or replacing them. It’s for your own aging parent’s protection and your piece of mind as your parent weathers the winter months.