Saturday, August 3, 2013

Could You Please Help Me?

Robert was done with his bath and getting dressed.  It’s Saturday so we were not under a time crunch to get ready in time for the van to pick him up and take him to Day Program. It takes a very long time for him to dress but I have found a variety of helpful tools to help keep him dressing independently for as long as possible.

Tying his shoes were next to impossible so one of his occupational therapists gave him elastic shoelaces; (awesome & cheap!)

Buttons became too difficult so I got him Velcro-close shirts (thanks to Buck and Buck Clothing!); 

Jeans (his winter staple) became too difficult to button and zip (no matter the size of the jeans). Back to Buck and Buck for Velcro-close jeans. Pull up shorts and short-sleeve Velcro-close shirts became his summer wear.

His belt?  He couldn’t quite get the metal hook to close and stay closed so Richard found him a Velcro-close belt; (Thank you George de Mestral for inventing Velcro!)

Robert is usually very independent when dressing and all of these pieces of adaptive clothing have helped keep him that way.

This morning, though, as I checked in on him in the bathroom, he sat with only his protective briefs on and a confused look on his face.

His shorts were on the counter;

His socks were tucked neatly in his shoes;

His shirt still hung on the door knob;

“Could you please help me?”

What do you need help with, Robert?

“It seems I can’t put my socks on.”

Hmmm.  Well, it’s Saturday so we have plenty of time to get dressed.  How about you try?

“I tried but it seems I can’t get them on. Can you do it?”

Robert moved very slowly last week and I helped him with his socks on a few days. If I hadn’t, he would have been late for his transportation to Day Program. We were cutting it pretty close as it was.

Today he has all the time in the world. I’m not telling him to hurry up or hiding his razor (his favorite thing to do now is shave – multiple times a day).

How about you try one more time?

I watched as he struggled to use one arm to put on a sock. For some reason, he only uses his left arm when dressing.  I suggested he use the other arm too.

Use both hands!

Grab both sides of your sock!

Good job!  You got it over your toes!

Pull it over your heel!

Lift your foot!

Use both hands again!

Pull hard!

You can do it!

Pull it all the way up now!

That’s great – you’re getting it!

All of a sudden I became a drill sergeant coach.  All that was missing was a marching band and cheerleaders. 

He got his sock on but he was exhausted.

One down, one to go.

After a short break, he got the other one on much more easily.  Shorts, shirt and shoes were a breeze after those pesky socks.

He was rewarded with a leisurely breakfast and the satisfaction of completing a task himself.

While he does have a tendency to want others to do things for him even if he can do it himself (a habit he picked up from our father), I want him to maintain his independence as long as possible.

If that means coaching him while he puts on his socks, then sign me up.

Somebody get me a whistle and a clipboard – I think I can get used to this coaching gig!

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