This Quality Adaptive Clothing Helps Older Adults Get Dressed Easily

Quality Adaptive Clothing Helps Older Adults Get Dressed Easily

Adaptive clothing can be an absolute game changer, helping older adults to get dressed easily.  I know that my older relatives have relied on it to stay independent and stylish as their needs changed.

At ElWell, we’re impressed with the quality adaptive clothing choices available which improve quality of life and mirror conventional clothing. This article looks at these, as well as best buys for comfortable adaptive clothing and adaptive underwear that are perfect for self isolation. Lastly, we’ve looked at some DIY adaptive clothing solutions. Here’s to dressing easily and well!

There’s some amazing (and easy to use!) gadgets available to help your parents watch TV and speak on the phone more easily. Read our reviews of the best phones for the hard of hearing and devices to hear the TV more easily.

What Is Adaptive Clothing?

Getting dressed can become more difficult as people get older. Limited mobility, wheelchair use, difficulty bending down and conditions such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and dementia can all make this daily routine harder.

This is where adaptive clothing can help. As the name suggests, it adapts clothing to make dressing easier for people who need it. Inclusive clothing can be life changing for seniors who live alone, don’t want help getting dressed, are in an assisted living facility or want to reduce their amount of home care support.

Let’s look at how easy access clothing works, and our favourite adaptive clothing brand.

How Adaptive Clothing Works

Adaptive apparel is designed to go on and off easily, making getting dressed easier for your elderly loved one. If you’re considering it for your older parents (or yourself) then this table explains how adaptive clothing works.

Mobility ProblemAdaptive Clothing Solution
Zips and buttons are hard to grasp and do upEasy but secure touch discreet velcro fastenings and closures are used. Ideal for older adults with less strength and dexterity in their fingers
Senior has limited strength and balance abilityLimited strength and balance increases the risk of falling over. Wrap style skirts and dresses make for quicker, easier and safer dressing for women. Velcro fly fastenings for men mean there is less risk of falling over
Clothing closures need a full range of motionClosures are easy to reach, helping people with limited mobility
Seniors with cognitive difficulties find it hard to get dressedColour co-ordinating on the inside of adaptive apparel can help seniors get dressed correctly
Jewellery and accessory closures are hard to grasp, open or close if someone has limited hand mobilityMagnetic closures, clip on options and velcro fastenings ensure people can still feel fully dressed. After all, accessories can make an outfit!

Where To Buy Adaptive Clothing

At ElWell, we’re big fans of The Able Label. This UK-based company was started by Katie Ellis who, like us, was inspired by her grandparent to start her company. Katie’s grandmother had Parkinson’s disease, and getting dressed was difficult.

The Able Label uses quality fabrics, discreety adaptive clothing designs and innovative fastenings to help men and women with limited movement, cognitive decline, or restricted finger dexterity stay independent. Plus they offer VAT exemption.

Stylish Adaptive Clothing For Women

Just because we’re getting older doesn’t mean we need to sacrifice on style! In our opinion, The Able Label’s adaptive clothing fuses quality, practicality and value. Here is our pick of The Able Label’s adaptive clothing for women.

Adaptive Clothing Blouses And Tops

Woman wearing adaptive clothing blouse from The Able Label
This Stella top is their best seller! A jersey long sleeved top / cardigan that is fitted and flairs at the waist, giving extra material there for added comfort. No one would know it is secured shut with velcro.
The Able Label adaptive clothing for women
This is the Camilla, a classic seerseeker cotton shirt with buttons for style only – the shirt closes securely with hidden velcro. It’s quick drying and non iron.
Woman wearing Imogen top from The Able Label
If you prefer a longer length or something floaty, the Imogen Jersey Shirt is for you! Made from viscose, it’s comfortable and again uses velcro to fasten (buttons are just for display).

The Able Label offers an alterations service so you can get sleeves, trousers, dresses and skirts taken up, either at the same time as purchasing or after!

Easy On Clothing: Skirts And Trousers

Frankie trousers from The Able Label
The Flavia Straight Leg Pull On trousers come in short and regular length. No fastenings make them easy to take on and off. They have pockets, an elasticated back waistband for comfort and are made from non-iron easy care fabric.
Woman wearing Frankie easy on trousers from The Able Label
We love these super comfy jersey Frankie trousers. With no fastenings, they also have a concealed zip at the hem making them even easier to get on and off. Available in two leg lengths.
Wrap around easy close skirt from The Able Label
The Delia skirt is available in a variety of colours. It’s a wrap style skirt that fully opens so is ideal for getting dressed with minimal balance required. Made from a linen look fabric, with a velcro fastening and coloured hanger loops so you can tell the right side.

Check out our ‘caring for parents survival guide‘. Designed to help you navigate through identifying key concerns, speaking to your parents and asking for help, and so much more, it’s a bumper article.

Comfortable Adaptive Clothing For Self Isolation

We’re all spending more time at home now, which calls for comfortable adaptive clothing. Our best buys for comfortable easy access clothes are below.

Adaptive clothing comfortable self isolation safe

The Easy Pull On Adaptive Lounge Trouser

You will want to wear these all day, every day! These Natalia straight leg lounge trousers are made from stretch fabric and have an elasticated waistband with pull cord, for the perfect fit. Helping senior women stay stylish and get dressed easily, even during lockdown.

The T-Shirt That Helps You Avoid Overhead Dressing

There’s more to the Tabby Jersey Tee than meets the eye. It opens at the front and fastens securely with velcro so you can avoid overhead dressing. £39.95 and up to size 22.

Great for people with limited mobility, it’s easy to get on and off. It also has a high neckline and side vents which allow the tee to open further when seated for added comfort.

Keep Warm With An Adaptive Clothing Coat

Woman wearing stylish mac that has been adapted for easy dressing

How great is this mac? Lightweight, it has a silky lining to make it easier to take on and off. The buttons are for show, there’s velcro fastening for ease. It’s the perfect smart casual choice now we can start socialising outside again!

The Able Label has a great selection of smart coats and jackets, warm puffas and gilets. Find them all here.

Adaptive Nightwear For Seniors

Front Opening Velcro Nightdress & Adaptive Pyjama Set For Men And Women

Adaptive clothing_nightdress_velcro
Women don’t have to worry about overhead dressing with this front opening velcro nightdress. The secure touch velcro fastenings stay shut at night. Made from 100% cotton, it has long sleeves (there are short sleeve options too) and comes in a 40 inch length. It comes in size 8 to size 26.
Adaptive pajamas men
This adaptive pajama set is great for elderly men, with velcro fastenings on the long sleeved top and pull on bottoms. Available up to XX Large, the set can be altered to make it the right fit if needed.
Adaptive pajama set
The buttons are only for show on this Pippa long sleeved set, with snug and secure velcro fastenings on the top. The bottoms have an elastic waist and pull on easily.

Easy Close Dressing Gown

The tie on dressing gowns can be hard to handle for people with limited hand dexterity and grip. Which is why we love the luxurious fleecy dressing gowns from The Able Label. They have hidden velcro closures so there’s no belt to thread through and worry about.

Or go for a shorter cape design (also sometimes called a bed jacket) which won’t get caught up in a wheelchair and is a good option for keeping warm and snug in a hospital bed.

Woman wearing adapted dressing gown with velcro fastenings
Easy on dressing gown
Stylish bed jacket that's easy to wear

Comfortable And Practical Adaptive Underwear For Seniors

Adaptive Bras

Lots of older women have to start putting on their bra back to front, doing it up at the front and then shuffling it round (or rely on someone else to do the fastening for them). Adaptive bras are easy to put on and do up, so senior women can once again do this daily dressing themselves! Ideal for people with poor eyesight or arthritis in their fingers.

We like the Comfi Bra. Like the name suggests, this easy on bra is comfortable! Non-wired, non-padded it has a front velcro fastening and padded shoulder straps. Also great for women who are recovering from any type of breast surgery.

Thank you for the adapted bras. I have ineffective hands due to MND and the extra 2 inch panel makes the bra much easier to fasten.”

Judy, has MND, The Able Label customer

Women’s Underwear With Built In Pads

As we get older, urinary incontinence becomes more common. These leakproof briefs help keep seniors comfortable, dry and secure. With a built in absorbent pad, these heavy duty 100% cotton high waisted briefs are machine washable so there’s no need for other products. Making them an environmentally-friendly investment worth making.

The Super Absorbent Washable Full Brief Knickers come in black and white for £19.96.

If you’re looking for more incontinence support, then check out our in-depth article on the best washable products for incontinence. There’s a real range here, for both urine and bowel incontinence and products that are suitable for men and women. We hope it’s helpful.

Adapted Jewellery

My great aunt was super stylish and always prided herself on dressing well. As she got older though, she found the clasps on her jewellery difficult to open and close. So what did she do? She found adapted jewellery, which used strong magnetic closures instead of the conventional closures. Meaning she could continue to wear the bling which made her feel so good throughout her old age. 

The Able Label have some great options for adapted jewellery, using magnetic clasps and clip on earrings.

Adaptive Clothing For Men

The Able Label Michael Brushed Cotton Velcro Shirt
The Michael brushed cotton shirt uses hidden velcro fastenings but has buttons for show. A great casual shirt, it goes up to size XXL (50-52) and costs £49.96.
Adapted polo shirt for men
MY dad loves a short sleeved polo shirt, so I’m thrilled The Able Label has brought out this pure cotton polo. With discreet velcro openings placed behind the neckline buttons. £39.95.
Adapted men trouser
As men get older, a zip fly can be hard to open quickly when they go to the bathroom (due to loss of dexterity in their hands). These Spencer straight 5 pocket velcro fly trousers could be the answer, and make going to the toilet easier for senior men. £52.50.

If my dad is anything to go by, he isn’t fully dressed unless he has belt on. But belts can be tricky to do up as men get older.

Men's adaptive clothing velcro belt

This adaptive leather belt looks exactly like you would expect, but uses hidden velcro to secure. Costs £29.95.

At ElWell, we’re passionate about educating people on fall prevention – as so many falls are preventable. Backless slippers are a huge falls risk for the elderly. So we’re always keen to hear about slipper alternatives.

These super soft wool blend socks have a non-slip grip sole and are a great alternative to slippers for the elderly (and much safer, as backless slippers cause a lot of falls in the home). Available for men and women, these non slip slipper socks cost £10 per pair.

Buy And Try – Return For Free

You can find adaptive clothing at The Able Label online (or order their catalogue). They offer free returns, so you can buy and try with no pressure.

DIY Adaptive Clothing And Accessories

We love The Able Label! But if you want to get crafty and try to DIY some adaptive clothing for your favourite senior, then here are some easy tips for people with limited hand mobility.

Make Your Own Adapted Handbag

Intricate closures (zips, small buttons etc) on bags can be hard to do up for people with arthritis. Remove the zip and replace it with easy to touch poppers or  a large button and a big hoop made out of fabric.

Make Your Own Adapted Jewellery

If your parent has a necklace or bracelet that they love but can no longer wear due to the clasp, then this DIY tip could help. Get some thin elastic (choose one which matches the colour of the necklace – there are metallic options available). Thread it through the clasp and tie a loop. Hey presto, you’ve made a secure fastening which allows the necklace or bracelet to be placed over head or wrist.

Make Your Own Adapted Trousers

As we get older, getting to the toilet in time and then undoing the requisite zips and buttons can be difficult. Change the fly, replacing the current clasp with a hidden velcro fastening. If your sewing isn’t the best, you can even buy ready cut velcro which is sticky on the reverse and can be attached to the trousers.

Conclusion

The daily routine of getting dressed can become harder as we get older. Adaptive clothing can really help here, giving seniors more independence. Adaptive clothing is a great option for people with limited mobility who struggle with conventional clothing, are in a nursing home or assisted living facility or want to reduce their dependence on carers to help them get dressed. There are some fantastic quality adaptive clothing solutions out there.

FAQs

What is adaptive clothing?

As the name suggest, adaptive clothing adapts clothes to make getting dressed easier. The clothes don’t look different, but clever fastenings (such as hidden velcro and magnetic clasps), colour-co-ordinated trims and easy on products help people get dressed independently.

Who is adaptive clothing for?

Any adult who needs a little help with getting dressed. Elderly people can struggle with mobility, or conditions such as arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and MS can make putting clothes on harder. Adapted clothes can also make it easier for carers to help people get dressed, potentially cutting down on the time you need a carer for.

Can you get adaptive nightwear?

Yes! There’s a great selection of adaptive nightwear for men and women. Front fastening pajama sets and nightdresses stay secure with velcro. Easy close dressing gowns and comfortable and easy to put on and off underwear is also available.

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