Sigrid’s Project 333-Life is Short, Wear a Dress!

My Project 333 is based on the philosophy that we shouldn’t always wait for the perfect time to celebrate life. I live in Seattle where über-casual dressing is the norm, but I am ready for a change after slumming it in jeans and t-shirts for many years.

You can read more about Project 333 and capsule wardrobe dressing here:

http://www.theproject333.com

I need a wardrobe that covers the 3 F’s of dressing: flexible, fun, and fast. I am currently caring for my father whose health has declined, and will continue to do so for an extended period of time. The rigors of eldercare are such that many days I don’t have time for myself. However, I get dressed every day, so this is an opportunity for self-expression and a quick mood lift. We never know when either crises or opportunities will happen, so it’s nice to have smart outfits ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Since I wear petite sizes, I like the Eileen Fisher brand of clothing because they are cut properly for petite-sized women. The classic mix and match styles she designs are a good buy over the long term, and having interchangeable outfits is imperative for a minimalistic wardrobe. She also has an Eileen Green consignment shop about 3 miles from my home in Seattle, and this has been a great place to purchase nice clothing at a reasonable price.

I’m starting my Project 333 on September 1st. This happens to be my husband’s birthday and the slide into the rainy season, so I wanted to have outfits that could stand up to warm weather or muddy roads. Seattle’s rainy season rarely gets below freezing, but it is frequently damp and cool. I mapped out ahead of time which garments I thought I would want to swap out as the weather cools.

Looking at the list, I am already wondering if I need as many clothes as listed. I am not an avid shopper, but despite this I have still managed to amass fair number of garments. I think I may be prone to shop sales, thinking I should buy something at a good price because I will need it later. I categorized my items for the project so I would have a better idea of which type of garments I really need. As items wear out, I will know which garments to replace and can avoid my sales hang-up.

Number

Item/Swap item

Category

1

Gray Silk Shirtdress

Dress

2

Black V-neck short sleeve Dress/ Black wool dress

Dress

3

Gray linen skirt

Skirt

4

Black and white straight skirt/ Gray flannel skirt

Skirt

5

Green Boucle sweater

Top

6

Charcoal wool menswear cardigan

Cardigan

7

Charcoal heavy wool cardigan

Cardigan

8

Yellow linen cardigan

Cardigan

9

Black viscose T shirt

Top

10

Red turtleneck

Top

11

White cap-sleeved silk t shirt

Top

12

Blue cotton ¾-sleeve t shirt

Top

13

Blue wool sweater

Top

14

Black blazer

Outerwear

15

Japanese cameo necklace

Jewelry

16

Magenta freshwater pearl necklace

Jewelry

17

Clear glass and silver lariat

Jewelry

18

3-strand freshwater pearl necklace

Jewelry

19

Light Yellow jacket

Jewelry

20

Wool coat

Outerwear

21

Trench coat

Outerwear

22

Sunglasses

Accessory

23

gloves

Accessory

24

Sun hat/ Handmade recycled heavy silk hat

Accessory

25

Green cotton scarf

Accessory

26

Handmade recycled heavy silk scarf

Accessory

27

Black flats

Shoes

28

Gray flats

Shoes

29

Black sandals/Black sling-backs

Shoes

30

Black Dress rain boots

Shoes

31

Gray Jambu sneakers

Shoes

32

Purse

Accessory

33

Messenger bag

Accessory

 

I took a few photos. Now I understand why the fashion industry uses models to photograph clothes; the clothes don’t look like much on a hanger. I’ll snap come more photos when I am wearing some outfits.

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Frugal Eldercare Solution: Free Blanket Holder

Assistive devices help the elderly live more independently and safely. Many commonly used devices include canes, walkers, and shoehorns. But there are other assistive aids as well such as sock pullers, raised toilet seats, and removable door handles to name a few. While many of these inventions work great, purchasing them all can bust the budget of a person on a fixed income or family members who are trying to help out.

Not all assistive devices are paid for by Medicare. This is something I’ve been on a learning curve about. Here is a link to a pdf produced by CMS that talks about durable medical equipment (DME), and what Medicare will cover:

http://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/11045.pdf

For example, a blanket holder helps prevent an elderly person from becoming tangled in the bedding by raising the sheets and blankets above the feet. I cannot find any evidence that Medicare or insurance will pay for them. However, having a blanket holder has been really helpful for Dad because it prevents him from falling onto the floor. The American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA) produced a helpful guide listing and explaining various assistive devices. Your can get a free pdf copy of the guide here:

http://www.apdaparkinson.org/publications-information/download-publications/

I checked out the prices of blanket holders on Amazon.com. They ranged in price from $20 to $40. While these aren’t particularly expensive, when I added up the price of every assistive device recommended in the aforementioned booklet from the APDA, the price was well over $200. That starts to become real change!

What’s a frugal elderly person or caregiver to do? Well, how about we make a blanket holder? That is what Dad and I did in the attached photo. It isn’t pretty, but it didn’t cost and dime and it works. I took some clip-ring curtain holders I had lying around and attached them to the bottom of the sheet. Then I draped the sheet over the bed frame. Next, I took bungee cords and wove them in out of the bed-frame newels. Finally, I attached the ends of the bungee cords to the curtain holders and drew the bungee cords taut. Viola! Improvised blanket holder in action.

It’s summer right now, and Dad doesn’t need a blanket. When the weather cools, I can use extra curtain holders to attach a blanket the same way as I did the sheet.

 

 

 

Elder Care does not come with a manual

My name is Sigrid Reymond and I am a laboratory professional. I recently completed my master’s in healthcare administration, but am delaying my return to the traditional workforce for the time being. I have been caring for my father whose health has declined for over a year now, starting mid-way through grad school, and will continue to do so for an extended period of time. At some point, my husband and I will move Dad into a facility that can offer advanced, 24 hour care that we cannot provide at home. But, for now, I spend my time caring for my family and household, and working to keep my career alive by a thread.

Elder care-giving does not come with a manual or training program. But, somehow, we are magically supposed to know how to perform the complex task of caring for an elderly person with any number of health and social problems ranging from dementia, dietary concerns, complex medication management, financial problems, social isolation, and incontinence. Like most people, I was not prepared for the job, but because I love my father, I took the responsibility on hoping to wing it successfully.

I started a laboratory technical writing business, www.seamedtechwriters.com, which I hope to get up and running as I enlist regular respite care for Dad. I also started this blog, https://jugglingcareerandeldercare.wordpress.com/ to help others with the task of juggling career and elder care. I certainly don’t know everything about elder care at this point, but I can pass on what I have learned. As the elderly population of the US rapidly rises, more people will be in the same boat and need to know at least some of the things I have learned in the past 13 months.

Here’s a short list of topics I plan to cover in future posts, in no particular order:

  • Resources
  • Respite Care
  • Incontinence
  • Finances
  • Housing and living arrangements
  • Medication management
  • Fitness (exercise and mental health)
  • Family
  • Career options
  • Personal belongings
  • Doctor’s appointments
  • Medical care
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • Dementia and memory loss
  • Simple living and elder care (this one has been important to me because this is how we have been able to afford to help Dad)

I invite you to continue with me on my adventure in juggling career and elder care. We should learn a lot, and hopefully also have some fun along the way!