Improve Senior Self-Sufficiency With the Right Adaptive Clothing

An older man wearing adaptive clothing to improve senior self-sufficiency looks in the mirror and adjusts his cap.
These tips for choosing the best adaptive clothing will help improve senior self-sufficiency, comfort, safety, and more.

What were your thoughts when choosing the outfit you put on this morning? Style? Comfort? A specific 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. When the effects of getting older or a health condition such as arthritis make it challenging to self-dress, adaptive clothing is a fantastic option to improve senior self-sufficiency.

What Types of Adaptive Clothing Are Ideal?

There are a variety of key features to consider in adaptive clothing, including:

  • How it fastens: Buttons and zippers are much harder to manipulate than Velcro, snaps, or magnets.
  • How easy it is to clean: Choose machine wash/tumble dry clothing made from fabric that resists wrinkles and will be most convenient and comfortable.
  • How restrictive it is: Clothing with an elastic waistband or adjustable straps is less restrictive and also works well for a person with fluctuating weight or issues with swelling.
  • How it helps prevent falls: Don’t forget about footwear! Adaptive shoes are usually slip-resistant and can accommodate a brace or swelling.
  • How it’s put on: Raising the arms and pulling a snug sweater over the head is a lot more challenging than slipping on a cardigan. For someone 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 is not always easy, particularly 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 could have a slim or relaxed 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 around to test for mobility, flexibility, safety, and comfort. If a piece of clothing misses the mark in any of those areas, return it or talk to a tailor or seamstress about altering it.

Bear in mind too that although adaptive clothing’s purpose is to improve senior self-sufficiency and make getting dressed safer and easier, that does not mean you have to settle for frumpy frocks! Take some time to look at colors, patterns, and styles online together so the individual can choose the items they like best.

Contact JFS Care for further help with your adaptive clothing needs. We are here to offer tried and true tips, take older adults shopping, provide support with getting dressed, and more. Serving Los Angeles, North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, and the surrounding areas, you can contact us any time at 213-383-2273 to find out more.