VELCRO– for Aging Fashionistas and Those with Old Fingers

Pure Jill easy zip-front poncho
Soft, hooded style, side snap closures, two-way front zipper

Sr. Advisor R, during the week between her 100th birthday and her party the next weekend, couldn’t help giving me more advice when she proclaimed: “VELCRO” in much the same way as I remember “PLASTICS” in the 1960’s classic movie, “The Graduate.”

R said I had to write about the virtue of Velcro for old people.     OK!

Wearing apparel–from head to toe with buttons and hooks and eyes and buckles–is a challenge for many older people’s fingers, especially if arthritis is an issue. And shoe size–or perhaps better stated “comfortable, decent-looking shoes”– is another challenge for older feet of fashion-conscious elders.
R took one look at a catalog of easy-to-put-on clothing for older people about 5 years ago, and said it “depressed” her. I’ve written about the fact that for years R has carefully selected and purchased clothes through regular catalogues (her favorites have been posted often around holiday time) and she always looks well put-together.
Never-the-less, before I realized how good R was at catalog shopping, I’d thought about introducing the idea of using Velcro in place of buttons on some of her clothing as follows: (this was before the Velcro Button Conversion Kit and the “coins,” which I’ve not tried.)
1. –cut off button
2.–attach button to a piece of material whose color matches the clothing (or to the wrong side of velcro if the color is right). Piece should be larger than button hole.
3. –button button through its original button hole
4. –then sew that piece of matching material (or velcro) to the underside of the garment to keep button (looking buttoned) in place.
Now for the Velcro–if matching material was used initially
1.  Sew one piece where the original button was.
2.  Sew the other (corresponding) piece where the material w/ button is.
3. Repeat for each button–probably 5 total for sweaters or jackets
Check out Velcro’s iron-on Fabric Fusion Tape. Haven’t tried it, but sounds good.
Let’s not forget men’s shirts, jackets–and I came across a picture of a Velcro fly on a pair of men’s slacks.
It’s important to stitch well, using strong or doubled thread, remembering there will be pressure from pulling the Velcro apart when putting on and taking off. A dressmaker or tailor could easily do this and if it brings new life to favorite clothes that haven’t been worn because of aging fingers, it would no doubt be worth the cost.
For old fashionistas, it can make purchasing new clothing with difficult fasteners an option. (Or keep them and us on the lookout for smart clothing with zippers.) LOOK GOOD, FEEL BETTER helps everyone.
 Next Saturday’s post: Aging feet, shoes, and Velcro
Related: http://www.jjill.com/jjillonline/index.aspx–one of Sr. Advisor R’s more pricey, preferred catalogues– (for above zippered poncho, jacket and more).

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Aging Parents, Arthritis, Caregivers and This Blog’s Vacation

I will be moving around too much to stick to my schedule of Tuesdays and Saturdays for the next 10 days. It has been difficult to stick to my schedule recently due to weekends being spent in a place now devoid of internet access and my finding an iPhone–while I love it in most ways–incapable of giving me large enough space and font-size to be able to write without tons of typos–enough to cause writer’s block and crossed eyes.

Meanwhile, over the next ten days I will continue to look for best practices in helping parents age well. I will call your attention to timely articles, information, observations about aging, and creative solutions to the routine challenges all of us with aging, old, and really old parents face daily.

Today I want to share information from the NY Times, Science Times section. First, Jane Brody’s July 10th column--educating us about arthritic joints. Why? Because I notice more and more people seem to develop mobility problems as they age. And problematic parental mobility leads to a host of other problems that can easily impose upon the lives of adult children who live near. It’s hard to think about having pain every time you move, isn’t it? Makes one want to move less–and therein triggers a bigger problem.

Second, Paula Span offers new findings (in The New Old Age) about the dramatically increasing numbers of us involved caregiving. With such large numbers should hospitals and like institutions begin running support groups for caregivers who haven’t necessarily had any elderly family member admitted to them as a patient for care?

Lastly, I’ll be on the lookout for the US News&World Report’s issue on 2012-2013 best hospitals. It  should be out soon. They put out an issue focusing on best children’s hospitals last month (June 5th, I believe). Adult hospitals shouldn’t be far behind.