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  • Writer's pictureThe Care Company

Adaptive Apparel That Helps Seniors Stay Independent


What were your thoughts when selecting the outfit you put on this morning? Comfort? Style? 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 crucial to our independence. When the effects of getting older or a health condition like arthritis make it difficult to self-dress, adaptive clothing is an excellent option to maintain self-sufficiency.


What Types of Adaptive Clothing Are Ideal?

There are a number of key features to look for in adaptive clothing, including:

  • How it fastens: Zippers and buttons are more difficult to manipulate than Velcro, snaps, or magnets.

  • How it helps prevent falls: Do not forget about footwear! Adaptive shoes are often slip-resistant and they can accommodate a brace or swelling.

  • How it is put on: Raising the arms and pulling a snug sweater over the head is a lot more challenging than slipping on a cardigan. For a person in a wheelchair or with other mobility issues, clothing that opens in the back or on the side is an even better choice.

  • How restrictive it is: Clothing with an elastic waistband or adjustable straps is less restrictive and also works well for someone with fluctuating weight or problems with swelling.

  • How easy it is to wash: Choose machine wash/tumble dry clothing made from fabric that resists wrinkles and will be most comfortable and convenient.

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 best results:

  • Measure first. Get an accurate measurement of the individual's hips, waist, inseam, and for women, bust.

  • Check the charts. Many online adaptive clothing sites will provide size charts. In addition to the person’s body measurements, pay attention to whether the garments need a slim or relaxed fit.

  • Try it on. Whenever possible, the best way to ensure a great fit is by trying the items on and having the person move about to test for flexibility, mobility, and comfort. If a piece of clothing misses the mark in any of these areas, return it or speak with a seamstress or tailor about altering it.

Bear in mind too that while adaptive clothing’s purpose is to make getting dressed safer and easier, that doesn’t mean you need to settle for frumpy frocks! Take a moment together and look at colors, patterns, and styles online so the person can select the items they like best.


Contact The Care Company for further assistance 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 Toronto, Etobicoke, Markham and the surrounding areas, you can contact us online or call us any time at (416) 422-2273 to learn more.

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