Dignity bibs are designed to protect clothing from mealtime mishaps while providing dignity to the wearer by not looking like traditional bibs that are associated with babies.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on March 5, 2021. It has since been updated.
Paige Meyer never liked the ugly, vinyl, childlike bibs that are commonly available in the market for elderly or disabled adults. As a nurse, she felt putting bibs on her patients to feed them was degrading and humiliating for them. As a granddaughter who watched her grandmother deteriorate with dementia and emphysema, she understood how difficult it is for family members to see their loved one struggling and being forced to wear bibs. Determined to do something about it, Meyer came up with a plan. Having rediscovered her love of sewing during the 2020's lockdown, she took up a challenge to make 50 "dignity bibs" a month during 2021 and donate them to local nursing homes and special schools.
Paige Meyer, a young nurse from Victoria, believes putting bibs on adults to feed them is degrading. So she decided to make dignity bibs - bibs that look like clothing - and donate them to local aged care homes and specialist schools. A wonderful gesture! https://t.co/tjPeGIH7mL pic.twitter.com/13f4bJQaLO— LASA (@LASANational) January 6, 2021
"Dignity bibs are designed to protect clothing from mealtime mishaps while providing dignity by not looking like a bib," Meyer explained to The Courier. "Our dignity bibs are designed and made by a nurse to help ease of use by both consumer and nurse. As a nurse, my aim is to promote dignity to all of my patients and believe this is just one way I can help. I've just finished my nursing degree and through nursing and learning to nurse and working as a nurse, it's all about promoting dignity wherever you can... but the big gap I always found and had trouble with was putting bibs on adults and them losing their sense of dignity as soon as you put a bib on them."
"Watching nan... was a particularly big eye-opener for the fact that as a family member, it was hard to see. As a nurse, it's hard not being able to do anything but as a family member it's hard seeing it," she added. Meyer revealed that she came across a pattern for the dignity bibs online, which she then slightly modified. The design transforms button-up shirts into bibs that look just like regular clothing. "They use the front panel of a button-up shirt and once placed on top of the clothing, they just look like clothing. It's less confronting for the family as well because it looks like normal clothes," Meyer explained.
Several versions of the dignity bib are available online as of now, including an extremely popular pattern by the Etsy shop FabricGreetings. Priced at $8.56, the digital pattern has a 4-star rating from more than 200 glowing reviews. Explaining how the design came into existence, the store wrote: "This bib was designed for a friend who had that same problem. He now shows up to dinner with one of his dignity bibs in hand. One of the nice things about these bibs is that each bib comes with a pocket - sometimes two. Great place to store your hankie or medicine container."
"The bib is easily constructed from upcycled men's shirts. Since the size of the bib depends on the size of the shirt, you could use children's or young adult-sized shirts to make them for children with special needs," the product description continued. "If you have a basic knowledge of sewing and a sewing machine that does both straight and zig-zag stitching, this bib can be made with no problems. If you have a serger, the process is even easier. When your bib is finished, it will cover the lap of the wearer when he is seated. So it is much longer than most adult bibs. I have made these bibs from denim shirts, regular oxford cloth, and flannel shirts. Whatever you have on hand works."