Dear wise senior,
What kinds of clothing options are available for seniors with reduced mobility who have difficulty dressing?
— Looking for mom
The drudgery of dressing and undressing in traditional attire can be difficult, time-consuming and even painful for millions of people with certain health and mobility issues. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of special garments, known as “adaptive garments,” that can help with most clothing challenges. Here’s what you need to know.
What is adapted clothing?
Adaptive clothing is clothing specifically designed for people with mobility issues, disabilities and cognitive challenges who have difficulty getting dressed. This type of garment incorporates low-profile design features to facilitate dressing and undressing, while maintaining the outward appearance of typical garments.
Depending on your mom’s needs, here are some of the many types of adaptive clothing options that might help.
For seniors who dress themselves and have Parkinson’s disease or other disabilities affecting dexterity, there are pants, shirts, dresses and outerwear made with Velcro or magnetic closures at the instead of buttons and zippers, which are much easier to fasten and unfasten. But be aware that magnetic closures are not suitable for those with pacemakers.
For those who are disabled or have a limited range of motion and need help getting dressed, there are adapted pants with zippers or snaps on both sides of the pants that are easier to put on. put on. And a wide range of back closure shirts, tops and dresses with velcro or snaps in the back for those who can’t lift their arms above their head.
For wheelchair users, there are pants with higher backs and elastic waistbands that won’t slip, as well as pants with fabric overlaps at the seat to allow easier access to the toilet.
For people with tactile sensitivities, there are garments you can buy that have soft, stretchy fabrics without tags and are sewn with flat seams to help prevent chafing.
And for older people with Alzheimer’s disease, there are one-piece suits that have access through a zipper in the back to prevent the wearer from undressing inappropriately.
Where to shop?
Because each person’s clothing needs and style are so specific, it can be difficult to find suitable tailored clothing.
Recently, mainstream clothing stores like JCPenney, Target, and Tommy Hilfiger have started offering a line of adult adaptive clothing that combines fashion and function, but their in-store options are limited. To get a bigger selection, visit the store’s website and type “suitable clothing” into their search engine.
You can also find a wide selection at online stores specializing in adaptive clothing like Buck & Buck and Silverts. Both of these companies have been selling adaptive clothing for decades and offer a wide variety of clothing to meet almost any need, condition or style, for the independent self-dresser and for those who need help.
Other adaptive clothing sites you should visit include Joe & Bella, Ovidis, and IZ Adaptive, which sell clothing primarily designed for wheelchair users.
And, if your mom needs shoes that fit, shoes with Velcro closures (instead of laces) have long been a popular option and can be found at most local shoe stores.
Other new lines of adaptive footwear that he might be interested in include Kiziks and Zeba, which make fashionable sneakers and comfortable walking shoes that simply slip on, hands-free, and Billy Footwear and Friendly Shoes, which manufacture uniquely designed zipper shoes.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, PO Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is an NBC Today contributor and author of “The Savvy Senior.”