As we age, our bodies undergo changes that can make it challenging to find clothing that fits and looks good. Picking the right clothing becomes more important than ever, as it can affect our comfort and confidence. In this article, we’ll discuss the challenges older adults face when picking clothing and provide some tips on how to overcome these challenges.
Understanding the Challenges of Picking Clothing as We Age
As we age, our bodies go through a variety of changes that can make it difficult to find clothing that fits well and looks good. Some of the most common challenges older adults face when picking clothing include:
- Changes in Body Shape: As we age, our bodies tend to change shape, and we may gain weight in certain areas or lose muscle mass, leading to changes in our overall body shape.
- Decreased Flexibility: Many older adults experience a loss of flexibility, which can make it harder to reach or bend when putting on clothing.
- Sensitivity to Fabrics: Some older adults may experience skin sensitivities or allergies that make it challenging to find comfortable clothing.
- Limited Mobility: For some older adults, mobility can be limited due to health conditions or injuries, making it harder to put on or take off certain types of clothing.
What is Adaptive Apparel?
Adaptive apparel, also known as adaptive clothing, is clothing designed for individuals with disabilities, mobility issues, or other conditions that affect their ability to dress themselves independently. Adaptive clothing includes features such as Velcro closures, magnetic closures, elastic waistbands, and other design elements that make it easier for individuals to dress themselves. Adaptive clothing can also be designed to accommodate medical devices such as feeding tubes or catheters. The goal of adaptive apparel is to provide individuals with greater independence and comfort while dressing, improving their overall quality of life. Adaptive clothing is often marketed towards older adults, individuals with physical disabilities, or individuals recovering from surgery or injury.
Selecting Clothing for Wheelchair Users
When it comes to selecting clothing for wheelchair users, there are several factors to consider. Clothing should be comfortable, practical, and easy to wear while seated. Here are some tips to help you choose clothing that meets the needs of wheelchair users:
- Choose Comfortable Fabrics: Soft, breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen can help prevent skin irritation and keep wheelchair users comfortable throughout the day.
- Avoid Restrictive Clothing: Clothing that is too tight or restrictive can be uncomfortable when sitting in a wheelchair. Look for clothing that is loose-fitting, with ample room to move around.
- Select Clothing with Stretch: Clothing with a bit of stretch can make it easier to move around and can accommodate changes in body shape over time.
- Prioritize Easy Access: Clothing that is easy to put on and take off, such as those with Velcro closures, elastic waistbands, or magnetic closures, can simplify the dressing process.
- Consider the Length of Clothing: Longer shirts or jackets can become bunched up and uncomfortable when sitting in a wheelchair. Look for clothing that is shorter in the back, or specifically designed for wheelchair users.
- Look for Reinforced Seams: Clothing that is specifically designed for wheelchair users may have reinforced seams to prevent tearing or wear and tear from constant sitting.
- Choose Breathable Materials: Clothing made from breathable materials can help prevent overheating, which is especially important for wheelchair users who may be seated for extended periods.
- Check for Comfortable Necklines: Clothing with a low-cut neckline or a wide collar can be more comfortable for wheelchair users who may have limited neck mobility.
- Consider Accessory Needs: Wheelchair users may have specific accessory needs, such as pockets that are easily accessible or detachable, to hold medical devices or other essentials.
Overall, selecting clothing for wheelchair users involves prioritizing comfort, easy access, and practicality. By taking these factors into consideration, you can help wheelchair users feel comfortable and confident in their clothing choices.
Tips for Picking Clothing as We Age
Despite the challenges we may face when picking clothing as we age, there are many ways to overcome these challenges and find clothing that fits well, feels comfortable, and looks great. Here are some tips to keep in mind when selecting clothing:
- Choose Comfortable Fabrics: Look for clothing made from soft, breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen, which can help prevent skin irritation and keep you comfortable throughout the day.
- Consider Stretchy Materials: Clothing with a bit of stretch can make it easier to move around and can accommodate changes in body shape over time.
- Prioritize Fit: When trying on clothing, pay close attention to how it fits your body. Look for items that are neither too tight nor too loose and flatter your figure.
- Focus on Quality: Investing in high-quality clothing can be a worthwhile expense, as it tends to last longer and fit better than cheaper options.
- Don’t be Afraid to Alter: If you find a piece of clothing you love but it doesn’t quite fit right, consider having it altered by a professional tailor to ensure a perfect fit.
- Simplify the Dressing Process: Clothing with easy-to-use fastenings, like Velcro, snaps, or zippers, can simplify the dressing process and reduce frustration.
- Look for Adaptive Clothing: Some companies specialize in clothing designed specifically for older adults, with features like wider necklines, larger buttons, and elastic waistbands.
- Shop for Shoes with Good Support: Shoes with good arch support can make a big difference in overall comfort and help prevent falls.
Picking clothing as we age can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be a frustrating experience. By prioritizing comfort, fit, and quality, and looking for adaptive clothing and shoes with good support, older adults can find clothing that makes them feel confident and comfortable. Remember, it’s never too late to find clothing that fits your changing body and makes you feel great.