Self Dressing and Adaptive Clothing

by AgingandDisability

People who have lost mobility or range of motion often have difficulty with self dressing. When it’s time to get dressed, adaptive clothing can be a lifesaver.

For seniors and people with physical challenges, there’s nothing worse than having to fumble around with button holes and zippers when it’s time to get dressed. Of course, dignity is an issue as well. Who wants to be out in public with an open fly or unbuttoned blouse because your fingers are too stiff to do them up properly?

You could try to ‘retrofit’ clothes, and while the result may be functional, it might not look the same as typical clothing. An ideal choice is adaptive clothing which is attractive, but made in a way that an elderly or disabled person can manage. To the casual observer, the clothing is attractive and looks no different from regular clothes.

Adaptive Clothing - Tops and Dresses Dressing Video

Womens Adaptive Clothing


Caregiver Stress

Caregivers are under a considerable amount of stress due to all the responsibilities they have -- dispensing medication, doctor's appointments, preparing meals, housekeeping, etc.

Making use of adaptive clothing is one way to reduce a bit of that stress. For example, changing an adult diaper is much easier when you deal with velcro fasteners rather than zippers and buttons.

So, who can make use of adaptive clothing?

  • Elderly or nursing home residents.
  • Someone with arthritis or limited mobility
  • Incontinent
  • Wheelchair bound
  • Surgical patients
  • Recuperating from injury

Adaptive Clothing for Seniors, Elderly & Disabled

Men's Adaptive Clothing



Adaptive Clothing for the Disabled

There are many medical conditions that limit mobility and a person's ability to dress themselves -- stroke, multiple schlerosis, or being wheelchair bound. Additionally, elderly people may not leave the home because they find dressing too difficult. It doesn't matter if the disability is permanent or temporary. Adaptive clothing accommodates both age and disability.

If you're recuperating at home from an illness or injury, think of the difficulty involved in changing clothes when you have a cast on a broken leg or a surgical drain. If you're running back and forth to doctor's appointments, what will you wear? Your regular clothes won't fit around a cast or drain.

There are also illnesses which make a person take off their clothes at inappropriate times. Locking clothing with back zippers is available. The zippers are off center and placed where a person would not normally look for them.

Make a caregiver's life a little easier. Having to change adult diapers as well as give medications and baths is easier with this type of clothing. If you know someone with limited mobility or recuperating from an injury, suggest adaptive clothingas an alternative. It will help make life a little easier and let them keep a bit of dignity.

Updated: 10/07/2022, AgingandDisability
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AgingandDisability on 10/07/2022

@DerdriuMarriner Yes, it's usually velcro closures that are used. Thanks for commenting.

DerdriuMarriner on 10/07/2022

The sample adaptive clothing appear to be either loose tops or running pants-like bottoms.

Would the former totally be through velcro closures?

Seelyon on 06/21/2015

My father isn't too far away from needing something like this, thanks for the resource.

AgingandDisability on 06/23/2012

@BrendaReeves - Glad it was useful.

BrendaReeves on 06/23/2012

Wonderful article. I'm dealing with this now with my mother.

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