The Benefits of Adaptive Clothing for Seniors

A senior man explores the benefits of adaptive clothing, looking at himself in the mirror as he tries on new clothes.
Discover the benefits of adaptive clothing for older adults and what to look for when purchasing them.

What were your thoughts when selecting the outfit you put on this morning? Comfort? Style? A particular memory attached to a piece of clothing? The clothes we wear are a fundamental part of our identity, and the simple act of choosing what to wear and having the ability to put it on is essential to our independence. This is where the benefits of adaptive clothing can come in to play for older loved ones. When the effects of growing older or a health condition such as arthritis make it challenging to self-dress, adaptive clothing is a wonderful solution to maintain self-sufficiency.

What Kinds of Adaptive Clothing Are Ideal?

There are a number of key features to look for in adaptive clothing, including:

How it aids in preventing falls: Do not forget about footwear! Adaptive shoes are often slip-resistant and will accommodate a brace or swelling.

How restrictive it is: Clothing with an elastic waistband or adjustable straps is less restrictive and works well for someone with fluctuating weight or problems with swelling.

How easy it is to wash: Choose machine wash/tumble dry clothing made from fabric that resists wrinkles and will be most comfortable and convenient.

How it fastens: Buttons and zippers are harder to manipulate than snaps, Velcro, or magnets.

How it is put on: Raising the arms and pulling a snug sweater over the head is more challenging than slipping on a cardigan. For a person in a wheelchair or with other mobility issues, clothing that opens in the back or on the side is an even better choice.

Will It Fit?

Purchasing items that are comfortable and fit well isn’t always easy, especially if you’re ordering clothing online. Here is how to achieve the very best results:

  • Measure first. Get an accurate measurement of the person’s waist, hips, inseam, and for women, bust.
  • Check the charts. Many online adaptive clothing sites will provide size charts. Along with the person’s body measurements, pay attention to whether the garments will have a relaxed or slim fit.
  • Try it on. Whenever possible, the simplest way to ensure a great fit is by trying the items on and having the person move about to test for flexibility, mobility, and comfort. If a piece of clothing misses the mark in any of these areas, return it or speak to a seamstress or tailor about altering it.

Keep in mind too that while the benefits of adaptive clothing lie in their ability to make getting dressed safer and easier, that does not mean you need to settle for frumpy frocks! Take a moment together and look at colors, patterns, and styles online so the person can select the items they like best.

Contact Serenity Home Care for further assistance with your adaptive clothing needs. We are here to offer tried and true tips, take older adults shopping, provide support with getting dressed, and much more. Serving Victoria, Sidney, Oak Bay along with the surrounding areas, you can contact us online or call us at 250.590.8098 to learn more.