Adaptive Clothing for Seniors

As we grow older, many tasks and activities that used to be simple and effortless can all of a sudden become burdensome and strenuous. We often take for granted having the strength and mobility to carry out daily routines to continue living an independent lifestyle. Even something as seemingly straightforward as getting dressed and ready for the day can be challenging for seniors with impaired mobility, coordination, dexterity, or diminished muscle strength.

Physiological Changes with Age

With older age comes numerous changes that can impact daily life like decreased mobility, sensitivity, motor skills, and other factors that can alter our ability to perform routine tasks. This includes getting dressed without assistance, and feeling comfortable in the clothes being worn. Adaptive Clothing exists specifically to help individuals feel more relaxed in their clothes day-to-day, and enhances the potential for greater independence when it comes to dressing oneself.

Adaptive Clothing Options

Seniors or family caregivers with sewing skills may have the ability to make little changes to clothes that make them easier to manage based on specific circumstances and needs. For those who do not have the time, skills, or resources required to make adaptations themselves, there are clothing companies that specialize in adaptive clothing. There is a wide range of apparel available with a variety of benefits for seniors.

Some of the beneficial features of adaptive clothing include:

  • Softer Fabrics: Fabric that is softer and more supple is not only easier to pull on and take off, it is also more comfortable for individuals with sensitive skin, those who get overwhelmed by the sensory element of tactile things like fabric, or those who are prone to sores or pressure from clothing.
  • Large Pockets: Particularly useful for individuals using wheelchairs or other mobility devices, having large pockets can make things easier to reach without strain.
  • Easy Closures: Adaptive clothing provides several options for getting dressed depending on ability and preference. Things like Velcro-closure tops and bottoms, zipper-backed clothes, easy snaps, magnetic-closures, and other adjustments make putting things on and taking them off easier. This can be a huge help to those who struggle with the finicky work of button-holes and other tricky clothing elements.
  • Better Fits: Adaptive Clothing makers design items specifically to make them easier to use and better fitting for individuals with diverse needs and wants. For example, having clothing that is meant to be worn and accessed in a wheelchair means that it fits and feels better on top of being easier to get in and out of.

Altering Existing Clothing

As mentioned before, it is often possible to adapt existing clothing to make it a little easier to manage if getting an entirely new wardrobe is not a feasible option. Having some things altered and slowly amassing a little collection of adapted clothing over time can be a great way to gradually work towards having a wardrobe entirely filled with things that work and feel great.

Keeping an Open Mind

Changing the way we view clothes and dressing is something that can help in the process of adjusting to the realities of older age. Along with getting clothes that work and fit better, there are also tools that can help make the process of getting dressed easier in other ways.

Assistive Tools and Dressing Aids

There is a wide variety of assistive devices available that can make the process of getting dressed a little less strenuous. Some dressing aids to consider include:

  • Dressing stick with hooked ends
  • Button hook aids for fastening buttons
  • Velcro or no-lace footwear
  • Sock aids and extended shoe horns
  • Grabbing tools that work like an extension of the arm

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