What is Adaptive Clothing?

Does your aging loved one struggle with finding fashionable, affordable and easy-to-get on clothing? This is a common problem with a solution growing in popularity – adaptive clothing. Adaptive clothing is designed specifically to help those with physical and mental disabilities have independent and comfortable lives. The more than 14 million Americans that have difficulty with activities of daily living can greatly benefit from adaptive clothing. Review the what, who, and how about adaptive clothing below.

What is Adaptive Clothing?

Adaptive clothing is designed with the dressing needs of the elderly and disabled in mind. It’s also important to mention that there are styles and designs unique to each of the challenges someone may face. Those that will directly benefit from adaptive clothing are individuals that have difficulty dressing on their own and with sensory issues.

Sensory and physical limitations are given relief with various adaptive clothing features like Velcro closures and magnetic buttons, using flat seams and replacing standard tags with tagless options to allow more comfort on the skin. Ultimately, adaptive clothing should benefit your aging loved one by offering clothing that increases the quality of life.

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Who Benefits from Adaptive Clothing?

Anyone experiencing mobility limitations due to aging, medical treatments, and sensory challenges can benefit from adaptive clothing. The process for everyone to get dressed includes:

  1. Identifying the best clothes to wear for the activities you have planned for the day.
  2. Selecting the individual items of clothing required.
  3. Putting on each piece of clothing.
  4. Taking off each article of clothing.

These may seem like simple steps but if you have a physical disability or sensory limitations (such as visual impairment) that is not the case. Consider someone with arthritis having trouble buttoning a shirt/blouse or someone with muscular dystrophy pulling clothes up or down. These conditions create daily challenges that are addressed with adaptive clothing.

Common physical and mental disorders and diseases relieved by adaptive clothing include:

  • Arthritis
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Incontinence
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Stroke
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Brain Injury
  • Muscular Dystrophy

How does Adaptive Clothing work?

Small buttons, zippers, laces and the type of fabric can create challenges for those with any of the conditions listed above. To address each one, adaptive clothing features typically include the following accommodations:

  • Velcro-type closures instead of buttons
  • Open-back blouses, shirts, and dresses with Velcro-type closures that still retain the traditional button styling on the front
  • Lap-over back-style garments with snaps for the individual who cannot raise their arms
  • Zippers with easy-to-grasp pull tabs
  • Pants with side zippers
  • Seatless pants to help with incontinence
  • Shoes with Velcro-type closures instead of shoelaces
  • Slippers and socks that adjust in width to accommodate swollen feet and ankles

Now that you understand adaptive clothing better check out our Top 5 Adaptive Clothing Companies to research options in more detail.