Mom is laughing-out-loud about my little-old-lady designs inspired by a stay in a skilled nursing facility earlier this year. I did not know that UTIs effect elderly women big time until Mom was knocked for a loop with one that sent her to the hospital and then skilled nursing for a six-week long recuperation. My mother has Shy-Drager syndrome, a progressive disorder of the central and sympathetic nervous systems. The UTI intensified the Shy-Drager syndrome so much so that she had trouble with the smallest tasks: eating, going to the bathroom, and getting dressed.

Mom’s fingers could not work the little buttons on her shirts, her eyes could not see the buttons or the button holes, and her mind could not sort out which button went with which button hole. That’s where the idea for LOL Designs was sparked.

It was a simple thing to change the little buttons to larger ones. Being a designer, I decided to experiment with the idea of color to trigger the brain to remember. I found big buttons in bright colors, asked Mom which color she would like for the top button, the second button, and so on. I could have made the choice, but something told me to engage her in the process. Next, I changed the buttons – using the pattern that Mom chose – on three shirts. Voila!



Not only did the new buttons help her with this task, but they gave new life to her shirts. In fact, she gets comments every day about her colorful, big-buttoned shirts. If there is one thing I have learned from being my mother’s caregiver is that just because she and her friends are older does not mean they don’t like to look good.

That got me thinking. Why don’t fashion designers create a line of clothing for LOLs (little old ladies) that make it easier for them to dress and still be fashionable?

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