Aging In Place

9/2/2021 | By Seniors Guide Staff

As people age, many of the simple tasks they’ve taken for granted can suddenly become increasingly difficult. Case in point, getting dressed in the morning and undressed at night. Manipulating fastenings like buttons and zippers are now a challenge. Even dressing in clothing that must be pulled up from the feet or pulled over the head can be all but impossible to manage. Adaptive clothing for seniors is designed for those with physical disabilities, or anyone experiencing difficulty dressing because of an inability to manipulate closures or not having a full range of motion.

This type of clothing helps preserve independence in dressing and personal care for wearers and makes the dressing process easier for caregivers. 

What is adaptive clothing for seniors?

Adaptive clothing is designed to help older adults dress by replacing buttons and zippers with fasteners such as Velcro or magnetic clasps. Adaptive blouses and dresses come with an open back to allow seniors to slide into them, while adaptive pants might open on the side to make the process more convenient for anyone with a movement disability.

Adaptive clothing typically features flat seams to reduce friction and flexible fabric that stretches to fit multiple body sizes. Pants may have a unique design in the seat to accommodate incontinence aids or a longer rise in the back for wheelchair users.

Since some seniors are embarrassed to have others know they wear adaptive clothing, manufacturers have begun producing comfort garments without sacrificing style. As a result, many of today’s adaptive offerings are indistinguishable from regular clothing. For example, open-back blouses with Velcro closures still have buttons on the front.

How does adaptive clothing benefit the user?

Adaptive clothing helps seniors remain independent longer. As they age, older adults often experience a decline in their fine motor control and struggle with tasks such as buttoning a shirt. Getting into and out of pants or a shirt isn’t beneficial if they can’t close them properly.

While the Velcro clothing for seniors and magnetic buttons on adaptive clothing provide a way for seniors to complete the dressing process, similar adjustments, such as Velcro closures, are a universal feature in adaptive shoes.

Adaptive clothing also provides benefits for caregivers

Even with the advantages of excellent adaptive clothing, some older individuals cannot get fully dressed on their own and need the assistance of a caregiver. Still, the person being cared for and the caregiver can benefit from adaptive clothing since the senior gets dressed much faster and the caregiver has a much less strenuous process to navigate.

Special clothing can also simplify changing adult briefs. Particularly with those recovering from surgery or strokes, clothing with special openings and closures make things easier for the caregiver. And the additional privacy and comfort help preserve the senior’s self-esteem and dignity.

What are some of the most popular adaptive items?

  • Adaptive clothing for men polo shirt: These stylish shirts look like regular shirts. However, they open at the back, allowing the man to slide his hands into the sleeves without grappling with a small neck opening. After slipping on the shirt, the overlap in the back closes with two snaps.
  • Adaptive women’s nightie: As with the polo shirt, this garment has an open back with convenient snaps at the shoulders. Women often wear the gown after surgery, but an older woman with mobility issues can wear it daily.
  • Adaptive wheelchair pants: Adaptive clothing for wheelchair users is important to help them remain independent.Individuals who use wheelchairs can pull these pants up to their thighs and then snap the overlays in place. The person does not need to be lifted from the chair to finish dressing.
  • Adaptive boxers for men: These undershorts are ideal for men who don’t have normal dexterity. They open on the side, making it possible to put them on while sitting, standing, or lying down. A hook on each side holds them together.
  • Adaptive footwear: Bare feet and regular socks can result in slips and falls for older adults. While non-skid socks are a safer alternative, the best fall prevention for seniors is provided by a pair of athletic sneakers. They support the ankles, help maintain balance, and come with Velcro fasteners instead of laces.

Although the aging process is inevitable, finding adaptive clothing for seniors that is stylish and comfortable has become much easier, allowing older adults to remain independent much longer.

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff