For some time, Mom has been helping Lyn pick her shirts each day. Lyn will come out of her room and ask what she should wear. Her challenge isn't just about figuring out if she needs to dress for cold weather. She also needs help figuring out which color she wants.
Mom helps in a couple of different ways. First, she rotates Lyns clothes seasonally. When the weather turns warm, she packs away Lyn's Winter clothing. If it is out of sight, Lyn doesn't think about it and doesn't try to wear a turtleneck under a sweatshirt in the Summer or a tee shirt on a snowy day. Mom also realized that Lyn had stopped pulling clothing from below the top layer if she's looking in a drawer. Mom tends to hang most of Lyn's clothes now, allowing Lyn to see her options more easily. For things in drawers, Mom rotates them. Even then, Lyn still struggles to pick out what she wants.
Now, she's asking for assistance with her pants each day. For the most part, she wears black jeans or blue jeans. There's not a lot of variety and even this is proving to be too much for her. On Saturday, she came and asked for help. She ultimately decided she wanted to wear a white turtleneck but didn't know what pants would go with the shirt. Mom asked Lyn what pants she thought would be a good match. She looked at six different pairs before settling on the last one available to her. Mom assured her it was a perfect match.
It takes a lot of patience at this stage. When people tell me that they admire how patient I am, I quail internally but outwardly laugh. I've never considered myself a patient person and my model for comparison is Mom. I know she doesn't always feel helpful or patient but she's a master at not letting my sister see that.
Lyn still needs to have as much independence as possible. Sure, Mom could come in and just pull an outfit out of the closet and not give Lyn a choice. It would be easier but it wouldn't be treating Lyn with respect. Removing opportunities for Lyn to engage or participate in her care would remove dignity from the equation. It's not about talking down to her or treating her like a child. It is about simplifying her options so that she is not overwhelmed by the mere task of selecting a pair of pants or a shirt. There will come a day when Lyn may no longer be able to express her preferences and Mom will have to lay out the clothes or dress Lyn directly. Until that time, however, there really is value in getting Lyn to participate in choices even as small as this.
Lyn got dressed and was happy with her choices.