Adaptive Clothing for Seniors

As we age, it becomes increasingly more difficult to get dressed each morning. Seniors who suffer from arthritis, limited mobility, or are wheel-chair bound have greater difficulty in the daily function of getting dressed.


We have collected some helpful tips when selecting clothes for your elderly loved ones.

Pants and Dresses - select items that include a cutaway seat. These will aid those with limited mobility. Wrap-around skirts or shawls are safer for wheelchair-bound women.


Tops, Sweater, & Bottoms - select loose tops, sweaters, and bottoms that button in front. These are good choices for clients with arthritis.


Undergarments - Select front closing bras as they are useful for women who have mobility concerns with their upper arms. Providing disposable underwear ensures the dignity of your loved ones who are incontinent.


Tracksuits - select clothing with elasticized waists to make dressing easier for those with joint and muscle concerns - and for those who have short-term memory lapses.


Outfits - select several items, such as pants or shirts, that look the same. This works for those who insist on wearing the same clothes every day.


Accessories - avoid items such as belts, ties and scarves. They can become confusing to use for some clients and difficult for others to put on.


Fasteners & Shoes - when possible, use clothing that fastens with Velcro or zippers, rather than buttons, snaps, or laces. The same can be said for shoes. Select well-fitting, non-slip shoes that make walking easier. A great option is slip-on shoes with a non-slip sole.


There are a variety of adaptive clothing aids that can also assist with dressing each day:

  • magnetic buttons

  • adapted wheel-chair jeans (without back pockets, etc.)

  • clothes with side zippers

  • dressing aids, such as button hooks, shoe-horns with dressing sticks, a dressing stick that has a long handle with a short hook to help reach for clothing from a closet or hard-to-reach location

  • sock aids to hold socks in place as you fit into them

  • long handled hairbrushes

  • electric toothbrushes



Finally, when assisting someone with the daily task of dressing, always consider the privacy, safety, dignity and well-being of the individual. Before you begin care, explain that you have come to assist them with dressing, ask if it's ok that you touch them while helping to dress, and finally tell them what you will do and how you will do it as you perform the task. Explaining your tasks in advance decreases any negative reactions.




If you or a loved one requires assistance with daily functioning activities, visit our website today to learn more about the services we offer.




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