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Considerations when buying clothes for residents

April 16, 2012
by Kathleen Mears
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Last week, when my best friend Beth visited, we checked out a local thrift shop to find clothing for my roommate and a male resident across the hall. My thoughts are always with those residents who have no family to get clothing for them. Even though they get a few things at Christmas from staff or the facility, I feel they need a bit more to get them through the year.

As Beth and I looked through the store’s wares, I surprised her by being specific about the kind of clothing my roommate would like. I wanted to pick out comfortable clothes that were not ornate.

Beth did not know we had to be careful about what we picked because of how the facility does laundry. I told her it is difficult for the laundry staff to follow the care guides on personal clothing, so we had to allow a little sizing leeway because of possible shrinkage.

Finding a cardigan for my roommate was difficult. Beth found a few but they were too jazzy. Then she found a pink knit, short sleeved top and cardigan combination that were the right size. Even though they had embroidery, I got them anyways—after all, thrift store clothing is $3 an item.

We split up to look for a pair of slacks. I had to redirect Beth out of the zip front pants aisle and over to the pull-on pants. There she found a shorter, navy blue pair with a drawstring waist.

Men's shirts were in the back of the store, and looking there was such a disappointment. Men must never give away clothing that is worth reusing, and I think some of the better finds must have been donated by wives or girlfriends.

While shopping, Beth found a sophisticated, scarlet, designer knit cardigan with the tags still on it. Since I knew it was not my roommate's style, Beth got it for herself.

Buying useful items for other residents can be very rewarding. I also found it interesting that while Beth was helping me provide for others, she found something nice for herself.

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Kathleen Mears

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Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...