Family caregivers have many responsibilities caring for their senior loved ones that can quickly drain their time (and energy) each day.
They are chauffeurs, schedulers, cooks, house cleaners, dog walkers, comedians, history keepers, pill managers, and grocery shoppers, just to name a few of the hats they wear every day.
Keeping senior loved ones fed, healthy, clean, and in good spirits can take a lot of time and effort for family caregivers.
Whenever there are things that make all these job duties a little easier, it is important to share the good news and help caregivers gain the gift of some time for themselves by lightening their daily load.
We have found something that we think might help some caregivers take less time dressing, toileting, and cleaning their senior loved ones each day and night.
Adaptive Clothing to the Rescue
Have you heard of adaptive clothing?
Adaptive clothing, by definition, is designed for people with physical disabilities who may experience difficulty dressing themselves due to an inability to manipulate closures, such as buttons and zippers, or due to a lack of a full range of motion required for self-dressing.
It can also benefit seniors with cognitive impairments who no longer recognize what to do with closures or have behaviors that might lead to challenges getting or staying dressed.
Seniors and caregivers need function in all things especially clothing. A little style would be nice too.
When seniors have impaired mobility, joints become stiff, or they are unable to button up their shirt or zip their pants without help, adaptive clothing can help caregivers and seniors.
When seniors can no longer dress or toilet themselves at all, getting them ready for the day or keeping them clean and dry can be a real struggle for tired caregivers.
That is why clothes that make these jobs easier could be a great solution for many family caregivers.
Benefits of Adaptive Clothing
There are many reasons why specially designed clothing could help your senior.
Seniors who have arthritic hands and difficulty with the closures in most clothing, including buttons and zippers, can be more independent wearing clothes that use Velcro, snaps, or easy to pull zippers.
Some seniors who have cognitive issues are often unable to dress themselves. Perhaps your senior loved one enjoys disrobing during the day and you must constantly put them back together. Specially designed clothes can help them get and stay dressed.
When seniors are incontinent, they may need to be changed more frequently, which means more frequent dressing and undressing. Seniors may be unable to position themselves or have impaired mobility which makes toileting almost impossible and requiring even more hands-on care by the family caregiver.
Here are some examples of clothing modifications that can be found in adaptive clothing that will make caregiving slightly easier for you.
- Closures that allow seniors to manipulate themselves
- Full zipper backs to keep them in their clothes with no worry of disrobing
- Secure closure tabs
- Elastic waist bands for comfort
- Easy care fabrics
- Fabrics that ease sensitive skin, such as 100% cotton
- Fabrics and stitching that withstand frequent washing, especially for incontinent seniors
- Pants with long zipper on both sides for ease of dressing
- Snaps instead of buttons for arthritic fingers
- Cut out seat for non-ambulatory seniors for easier changing when incontinent
- Socks that are made wider for swollen feet
- Non-skid slipper socks
- Shoulder snap closure bedclothes
- Slip on or adjustable shoes with nonskid soles
- Easy to pull over the head or easy to step into styles when joint pain or balance issues are present
- Simple designs without belts and buckles
- Built in moisture barriers for incontinence
Adaptability With Style
Adaptive clothing that is comfortable for your senior, easy to use and wears well can also be – and should be stylish.
Everyone feels better when they look nice and shouldn’t have to settle for wearing PJ’s or over-sized T-shirts every day because that is all they have when specially designed clothes are available.
There are many beautiful colors, fabrics and styles including V-necks, patterns and a rainbow of colors available in adaptive clothing.
There are styles specifically for men and women or unisex products. There are jumpsuits, separates, shoes, socks, underwear, night clothes, Capri pants, and many other available products from which to choose and meet your senior loved one’s needs.
There are more and more manufacturers creating clothes that can accommodate a variety of special needs and more will come as the demand for them increases.
Adaptive clothing may be a bit more expensive per item than standard clothing, but their utility and improvement in your daily caring will be worth it.
“Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.” ~~ Saadi