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What does “adaptive clothing” mean?


Adaptive clothing is a type of garment that’s available for seniors, the disabled, CDPAP patients, and other people who are in need of a convenient, easy way to get dressed independently each day.

The purpose of adaptive clothing is to provide simple and straightforward style choices that are comfortable to wear and easy to put on and take off. Adaptive clothing is often made to address certain health-related issues such as for the prevention of pressure sores or clothing that’s not restrictive for Parkinson’s patients.

For seniors and the disabled, getting dressed can sometimes be challenging, and for certain individuals, it’s a task that requires assistance. Adaptive clothing options are designed to offer a clothing solution that makes it possible for seniors and the disabled to get dressed easily with little to no help from their caregivers.


Adaptive clothing items are equipped with special features that make them particularly easy to wear. Plus, they’re made to be extremely comfortable! Here are some of the most important defining features of adaptive clothing:


●   Carefully designed openings and closures


One of the key features of adaptive clothing is the ease with which it can be put on and taken off. In order to accomplish this goal, it’s important that the clothing has been designed to make the dressing process simpler for both caretakers and the wearers of the clothing.

There are different types of adaptive clothing that are all intended for unique situations and uses, so the array of possibilities is diverse. However, all adaptive clothing is designed to be easier to put on and take off than regular clothing.


Examples of openings and closures that make dressing easier include side zippers and closures that are made of extra-soft velcro. Garments that close in the back including underwear and shoes are also much easier to put on and take off. One company manufactures “button-down” shirts that provide machine-wash-safe magnetic closures that look just like button closures.


●   Accommodation of specific conditions


People who benefit from adaptive clothing often require certain special accommodations when it comes to clothing. For some people with specific regular-wear medical devices (such as braces or monitors), it’s important that their clothing is designed to comfortably work around these devices.

Other people require clothing that is especially soft and easy to move in due to sensitive skin or other conditions. Depending on the individual’s unique situation, there’s a particular kind of adaptive clothing available to suit their needs.


Certain styles of pants are made with zippers that have been strategically located to allow frontal openings for changing adult briefs. Other styles of pants are available to accommodate catheters. Custom-designed shoes are available for disabled individuals who wear leg braces.


●   Attractive clothing options


When a person needs easier, more comfortable clothing options, it may seem like a sentence to wearing unfashionable clothing with little aesthetic appeal. However, most adaptive clothing is designed to be both functional and fashionable!

At any stage or situation in life, it’s a huge self-esteem boost to be able to wear sharp, good-looking clothing. Adaptive clothing items are created with fashion in mind, and they strive to be as attractive as possible while still maintaining optimal functionality.


One adaptive clothing line manufactures soft denim garments that are designed specifically for people in wheelchairs. They’re made with a higher elastic waistband in the back that’s less likely to slip down the way regular denim does. The department store, Target, now offers women’s jeans with flat seams to avoid causing pressure sores. And tag-less tops are now available as well to cater to individuals with sensory sensitivity.

Who uses adaptive and easy-wear clothing?

Adaptive clothing, otherwise known as easy-wear clothing, is used primarily by the elderly and disabled people, or by people with particular medical conditions that require the use of clothing that adapts to their needs. Some examples of conditions where adaptive/easy-wear clothing may be beneficial:


●   Edema


For people who have edema, adaptive clothing and footwear options that provide the ability to adjust the size of the clothing as needed are particularly useful. Closures should be non-restrictive, and the materials that the clothing is made from should be accommodating and comfortable. Elastic waist pants are an example of adaptive clothing that’s recommended for edema patients to avoid causing skin irritation.


●   Arthritis, Parkinson’s Disease, and Multiple Sclerosis (MS)


Individuals with Parkinson’s have trouble controlling fine motor skills and they experience shaking, pain, or a combination of both that can be exacerbated by when they wear certain normal clothing options.

Patients with Multiple Sclerosis and arthritis face similar issues with the restrictive qualities of regular clothing. Because of the discomfort and difficulty that these conditions can cause, adaptive clothing that features easy-to-fasten closures and openings is essential. Velcro and magnetic fastenings are popular features in clothing designed for individuals with arthritis or Parkinson’s disease and clothing that’s soft and stretchy can also be an asset.


●   Paraplegia/Quadriplegia

For people who are restricted to a wheelchair, it’s essential to find clothing options that can be put on frontwards and that minimize the need to rotate and bend joints. Adaptive clothing that can be easily fastened in the back is designed for individuals with paraplegia or quadriplegia, and it can be a huge benefit to both the wearer and the caregiver.


●   Seniors and the Elderly

As people get older, simple tasks like getting dressed may become more difficult for a variety of reasons including illness and mobility issues. The aging process brings with it certain difficulties and, as a result, finding fashionable, comfortable adaptive clothing can help elderly individuals preserve their independence.

Special clothing may be needed to make changing adult briefs easier. Or in some cases, such as stroke or surgery, it may be necessary for clothing to have special openings and closures. These minor adaptations to the clothing often have an important impact on self-esteem.

What are the benefits for caregivers?

In some cases, it’s not possible for an individual to get dressed completely on their own, and they need help from a caregiver no matter what. Even still, the people who are being cared for  can benefit from the use of adaptive clothing and the caregiver will likely find that it’s much easier to assist the patient with dressing as a result!

Adaptive clothing is designed to be simpler and much less strenuous for caregivers to put on their patients. For caregivers, helping the patient get dressed is a much faster, and less challenging process than it otherwise would be without the adaptive clothing.


Here are some other ways that caregivers benefit from their patients using adaptive clothing:


●   Less time to dress and undress the patient

●   Added privacy and comfort for both the caregiver and the patient

●   Confidence-boosting for inexperienced caregivers

●   Safer

●   Easier to check and change adult briefs as needed (better access through clothing)

Velcro clothing companies for seniors

1) Buck & Buck


Buck & Buck is one of the oldest and most established adaptive clothing companies, and with a huge range of clothing styles and materials, there’s no doubt that this company is one of the best.

This company sells everything from casual blouses and button-up shirts to formal dress shirts and slacks, all complete with Velcro attachments to make each article of clothing easy to put on and take off. Buck & Buck even offers denim pants with Velcro fasteners! Whatever shirt or style that you’re looking for, Buck & Buck is sure to have it.


2) Silvert’s


Silvert’s provides adaptive clothing and footwear to cover a wide range of specific needs. One of the perks of shopping at Silvert’s is that no matter what kind of clothing you or your loved one needs, they’re sure to have a stylish, comfortable, highly functional adaptive clothing solution.

When it comes to Velcro clothing, Silvert’s offers cleverly designed footwear for individuals with edema, as well as fashionable skirts and pants for women and slacks for men. With a brand as well-known as Silvert’s, finding affordable, accessible adaptive clothing has never been easier.


3) AdaptiveClothes


AdaptiveClothes provides functional and fashionable adaptive clothing for seniors and the disabled. Velcro fasten dresses, skirts, blouses, shirts, and slacks are all available through this company!

They even offer comfortable and good-looking pajamas. All of the clothing from AdaptiveClothing is made with soft materials that are easy on the skin, so there’s no need to worry about rough or coarse clothing or closures. The clothes from AdaptiveClothing also come in a variety of easy-to-understand sizes, so it’s simple and easy to order clothes online for yourself or your loved one.


4)     Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive Clothing Line


Tommy Hilfiger is, of course, a popular name in the clothing industry, but, not very many people know that this clothing brand also produces ultra-stylish adaptive clothing for men, women, and children.

The Tommy Hilfiger adaptive clothing line includes soft, comfortable denim pants, fashionable dresses, sharp slacks, and good-looking shorts and long pants. In terms of style variety, Tommy Hilfinger probably has the most diversity of any adaptive clothing company on this list, at least in regard to clothing with Velcro closures. Tommy Hilfiger style is for the young and young-at-heart, with fashionable clothing designs for any situation!