A simple activity of daily living such as getting dressed may be a tedious process for the elderly especially those with complex medical conditions. Limited mobility caused by conditions including stroke, arthritis or Parkinson’s could make dressing and undressing a very frustrating or even a demeaning experience. As for the caregivers, assisting with fastening a button or pulling up a zip could be a daily struggle.
To alleviate this problem, we now have the option of adaptive apparels which are specially designed with unique features such as Velcro in place of zips and buttons, rear closures instead of front-facing closures, and adjustable and removable components to assist with specific needs. Apart from the convenience and reducing the risk of injury, adaptive clothing have been made with comfort as well as visual appeal in mind which is important in boosting self-esteem.
- One-piece Jumpsuits
One-piece jumpsuits help those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, who may be inclined to inappropriately undress in public. The jumpsuits feature long back zippers and fasteners that is difficult to unzip and thus prevents fall. They are designed with loose sleeves and elasticized waist to ensure good fit and comfort.
- Open-Back Tops
Open-back tops are suitable for people who have lost mobility and strength as a result of conditions such as paralysis, Parkinson’s, arthritis or stroke. They feature snap-on fasteners on the shoulders allowing the caregiver to slide the garment onto the patient without having to raise their arms or struggle with neck openings. These clothes can be worn or removed both frontwards or from behind, therefore eliminating the need to bend or rotate muscles or joints.
- Open-Seat Pants
Open-seat pants can be worn in a seated position designed specially for the wheelchair bound or those with limited mobility. It comes with waistband fasteners located on the side or back allowing for a quick change as and when needed. These customised pants have generous extra room to discreetly accommodate incontinence aids at the same time preserving their dignity.
- Therapeutic Footwear
Also available is s range of specially designed footwear with removable insoles and fillers such as arch supports, lifts, wedges and heels and are ideal for those who suffer from medical conditions such as arthritis, swollen feet etc.
- Rocker bottom shoes are designed with thick soles and rounded heels to relieve pressure from under the ball of the foot and ankle joints that make walking less painful. They are usually prescribed for patients with arthritis as it also helps to alter gait patters.
- Extra-wide footwear with adjustable straps is the solution for Oedema patients, who suffer from swelling of the feet and legs caused by water retention. These shoes are adjustable in size and offer non-restrictive closures.
- Diabetic shoes and socks protect the feet of diabetics who have an increased risk of developing foot ulcers and fungal infections. The shoes are made of lightweight breathable material and can be paired with socks that have anti-microbial or anti-fungal properties to prevent existing foot conditions from worsening.
When purchasing adaptive clothing, it is important to choose materials that are gentle on the skin and where possible the wearer’s preference of design and colour should also be taken into consideration, as the attire is not just for functionality but also enhances the wearer’s psychological wellbeing.
By Punithamani Kandasamy, Registered Nurse And Caregiving Trainer At Active Global Caregivers