Members of the Auxiliary are using their sewing talents to help these patients in a very practical way – and one that also helps the seniors maintain their dignity. Janice Johnson, who is leading the initiative, and other volunteers are making bib aprons for the patients.
“One of our overall treatment goals is to assist our patients in preserving their dignity,” said Dianna Knight, senior care program director. “But, as our patients lose coordination and begin to experience tremors and other movement disorders related to their mental and physical health conditions, it becomes more difficult for them to feed themselves or to eat without assistance.
“Even if a patient cannot remember his name, he understands enough to not want a towel tucked into his shirt at meal time or to feel ashamed of food stains on his shirt.”
When the volunteers heard about this issue, they voted unanimously to support the project and stepped up by providing handmade aprons for the patients. They have already presented a number of the colorful bib aprons to the unit.
“They come in an array of patterns that make the men and women on the unit feel more comfortable,” Knight said. “The aprons have even eased the workload of our mental health technicians. After a meal the techs can simply gather the aprons and throw them in the washer, instead of having to change the patients and wash their clothes.
“Aprons are familiar to our patients. Many of the women grew up in a time when aprons were part of the daily wardrobe, and the men relate when we talk about them in terms of a barbecue apron. These aprons have not only helped with the way our patients view themselves, but an unexpected benefit has been that they stimulate a trip down memory lane.”