Changing Styles


Mom had taken great care of her hair all her life. She would schedule regular visits to the hairdresser, and also spent time and effort maintaining her hairstyle at home. I remember electric rollers, plastic rollers, foam rollers, small, medium and large. She was fashionable too, and I remember a wardrobe filled with tailored clothes of all the colors of the rainbow. She purchased fabric, remembered what fabric she had, planned designs, and visited the tailor.

Sometime in the last decade or so, all this changed. First mom complained the hairdressers were too expensive, so she kept her haircuts to a minimum, and colored her hair at home. She was worried about the crime rate being high where she lived, and in order not to attract unwelcome attention, she wore old and plain clothes, stopped using make-up, and let her hair go.

Some of this behaviour was prudence, I’m sure. Yet I wonder. Is it a sign of impaired judgement brought on by early dementia? If so, the onset of dementia was insidious and crept up on us many many years earlier!

Yet sometimes the old mom is there. I brought her shopping about a year ago.. Let’s look at shoes, I said, you haven’t had a new pair for some time now. It was in Robinsons, and mom headed for a pair of stilettos such as she might have worn 20 years earlier. I laughed out loud and remember now she didn’t think it so funny.

Yesterday, we were passing some time in the sports section of a department store, and I rifled through the sportswear on the rack. Who are you buying for? mom asked, ever keen to give a helping hand.

Nowadays, mom isn’t so particular over what she wears, and over the last few months, I’ve noticed her efforts at matching clothes is improving. I don’t always think she is most appropriately dressed, but it’s okay, I can make allowance for her taste. Most importantly, I too have to remember what she’s been wearing so I can hint when it’s time to send those pieces to laundry!

And we visit the hairdresser whenever we must! Usually a couple of weeks overdue by the looks of things. I have written before how at the hairdresser,  additional services are imposed on mom, who is gullible and suggestible. This is getting to be a problem. At the last place, when I went to pick mom up, I even found her hyper-excited, talking loudly and making strong protests about what the charges are likely to be. A lady there kept pushing her products and suggested “your good daughter will pay for them”. As soon as we left, mom  updated me excitedly about how she spoke to them about Church and Religion. When I got her to a quiet place, I asked her why in the world was she proselytizing to them, and she said “They Wanted me to Teach Them, so I Did!” Luckily she soon calmed down, and I let it be.

I realise there will be those who prey on the older, weaker, gullible persons, and don’t think it is wrong to do so. I must find a new hairdresser for her, someone I can trust. Else I must schedule to sit there and wait it out with her, because mom behaves in my presence.

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13 thoughts on “Changing Styles”

  1. Oh does this ever bring back memories! Mom had a standing beauty appointment for forever and slowly she stopped going or perhaps it was Dad not letting her go for fear of something going amiss. The warning signs of dementia are insidious and creep up in ways that most of us, unless trained to notice, take as just part of being old or little brain fogs or us being in denial. That beauty parlor place should be ashamed of themselves for taking advantage of your mom but sadly a lot of places do that to the elderly regardless of their mental states.
    Being a caregiver involves wearing many hats.

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    1. Yes, it really is difficult. I don’t want to highlight to the salon or to anybody else that my mom is “not well”, because that attracts the wrong sort of attention and sympathy too.
      I keep thinking mom is better, but at times like these, I realise how close to the edge we are. I am thankful she moved in with me, and lets me guide her. For now, at least.

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  2. Hi friend. I am currently in the process of collecting pieces of my mom’s clothes to be made into a memory quilt now that she has passed. I am most often attracted to the brighter colors that she wore towards the end of her life rather than the far more elegant tailored dark colors she wore when she was an impeccably stylish middle aged woman. I embrace all of who you are two each other and the sacredness of your journey together. much love, Beth from middlescapes.com

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    1. Thank you, Beth. My mom is just the opposite. During her working life, she wore bright bold colors and contrasting patterns. Only now she has reverted to muted colors and fine flower prints.

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      1. the evolution of mom fashion is kind of fascinating don’t you think??? I found a wonderful quilt maker who creates memory quilts. I am going to start saving my pennies and already picked out some of mom’s favs to into it. It will be great to snuggle up in her on a cold winter night. Happiness and peace to you and your mom. love hearing from you.
        z

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  3. thanks for stopping by my blog – I haven’t written or been keeping up with reading blogs due to summer holidays – I remember the outfit my mother started wearing day in day out – I’ll never forget it – pair of grey slacks, black shoes and a blue coloured (with flowers) blouse with a white collar – I called it the uniform. Mom was the same in that she kept herself very tidy and always had a flair for fashion…

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  4. Can you find your mum a hairdresser who makes home visits? My mum has a hairdresser who comes to the house, the daughter of one of her friends from church. No products to push, and she’s a lovely person.

    We have similar issues with my mum not doing her laundry often enough and putting dirty clothes back into drawers and cupboards. She’s still insisting that she doesn’t need extra help, though, and gets really upset when I try to suggest that she needs to do some laundry. She was always so fastidious before the Alzheimer’s came to stay.

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    1. At the moment, mom still enjoys going for outings with us. I guess a hairdresser in the home will be required at a later stage.
      Clothes are a problem – a lot of tact required about getting clothes into the wash. Fortunately, mom is still okay to receive my suggestions.

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  5. I find it very upsetting that people take advantage like that. Is there someone you know who does hair in their home or has a smaller salon? Maybe it’s different in Singapore but here I know several people who run a small salon in the home.

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