Gail's parents

Gail's story: 'I designed an easy-to-wear blouse to give my mum some dignity'

Gail's 92 year old mum Sadie May experienced pain and discomfort when getting dressed each day. To help solve this problem, Gail made a blouse that would make dressing much easier, while maintaining her mother's modesty.

My mum was married to my dad for 60 years. Together they had five children. My parents loved animals, and had five dogs over their many years of their marriage. My mum also loved bird watching and had many bird tables in her lovely garden.

My mum loved gardening, cooking, knitting and loved to watch Emmerdale, Strictly Come Dancing and I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here. 

The whole family enjoyed playing card games, such as Pit, especially at Christmas time when the house would be filled with laughter.

Gail's family

Losing my dad

For most of her life, my mum was mainly a housewife. In her sixties, she decided to take a part-time job working in a nursing home, using all her skills she collected over the years.

My dad was a precision engineer and sadly became ill with Parkinson’s Disease, so my mum gave up her job to look after him.  

As the disease progressed, he went into a nursing home and passed away about sixteen years ago.

It was a very difficult time for my mum as they had been married for such a long time. She had to adapt to being on her own.  

Gail's mum in an armchair

Living in residential care

Being very independent, she managed to care for herself with the help of one of my sisters who lived locally.

Unfortunately, at the age of 91, our mum had a fall. We found an excellent nursing home that my other sisters and myself visited to see her each day.

She was eventually diagnosed with vascular dementia. Luckily, she always remembered our names and who we were.

My mum always looked very smart and loved wearing floral blouses.

But over the months, the carers began to find it more difficult to dress mum as she was very stiff and eventually bed-bound.

I designed a blouse that overlapped at the back and secured with shoulder poppers rather than Velcro, as that can catch on other clothing.

The buttons on the front of the blouse were just there for show. There's no need to spend time buttoning and unbuttoning the blouse.

The carers found this to be extremely easy and quick to dress mum. It reduced the pain and stress mum encountered, and provided some dignity, which sadly appeared to be slowly disappearing.

An example of a blouse

Designs for men and women

Since my mum’s passing, I have researched and created other styles.

I feel my designs would benefit so many people experiencing the same problems as my mum.

I created a designer label in her name, Sadie May®. The range includes a plain ‘V’ neckline, a small stand collar and a shirt style collar that is suitable for men and women.

The blouses and shirts are made-to-order in 100% cotton or a Polyester/Cotton mix fabric, giving a fresh crisp look and would be an excellent present for those very special occasions when ideas seem to run out.

Advice on dressing

Read our information for carers, including tips for helping a person with dementia to dress and advice on how to make dressing a positive experience for them and for you.

Read advice

13 comments

Add your own

Amazing pretty and so smart.

Well done

These blouses are fabulous and an amazing tribute to your mum and the love you shared x

Have you thought of asking g one of the Pattern makers eg Simplicity if they would produce a sewing pattern that could be sold to raise funds? I am sure many Carers like ourselves would love to make them for their loved one.

What a wonderful idea I wish something like that was around a few year's ago when I was caring for my mum with Alzeheimers.

These blouses look super but I need something like this for my husband as he is now very stiff and watching the carers dress him seems pain full therefore for is there anywhere I could purchase these is shirt form.

Gail makes these shirts for men as well! Check out her website https://www.topstitch-guildford.co.uk/shop-modesty-blouses and the shirt 'Stanley'

What a wonderful idea I’m sure it was a great help to both your mum and her careers, thank you for caring enough to design this .

Gail, such a lovely gift for your mum and a well designed beautiful blouse. Xx

What a beautiful woman she was and how lucky to have daughters to support her. Lucky for you too, such a privilege to care for someone we love. Your blouse is made with love, great design. Hope your able to help the lady who wanted something for her husband. I know myself how lucky I am to have had a mum who never forgot me and even though she couldn't talk, said my name the day she died. Much loved and sadly missed, Katy.

Fabulous idea. I lost my mum last year and she too became stiff and dressing was troublesome. Something like this would have been so helpful. Well done !

Brilliantly simple, but excellent.
Thank you and may your brand develop and grow.

Gail, how lovely of you to do this for your mum. They are simple designs but excellent. My only thought is that they are quite expensive and the cost of a number of items may be out of reach for some people.

Wonderful idea so simply and yet very useful. I am sure so many people would like to share it. I am sure there
must be a company somewhere that could help
somewher

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