How Adaptive Clothing Can Help in Caregiving

woman in wheelchair shopping for clothes

If you’ve ever watched your loved one struggle with a zipper, button, or snap, then you know that it might be time to find a way to help them find a different style of clothing. Many individuals who struggle from mobility issues, arthritis, stroke, or brain damage, find it difficult to manipulate small items. Instinctively, we work with our loved ones to find clothes that are easier to put on, but this often sacrifices something important – fashion. When your loved one is needing to hang on to their dignity for as long as possible, then it becomes important to help them do that in any way we can. So let’s take a look at how adaptive clothing can help in caregiving.

What is Adaptive Clothing?

Adaptive clothing is designed specifically to accommodate the needs of those who may have disabilities or other medical conditions that make it easier to get dressed without assistance. It can also refer to clothing that is adapted to conceal medical devices, or help individuals use medical equipment. For example, some adaptive clothing is designed specifically for wheelchair users, with pants that have zippers on both sides, making it much easier to get dressed while sitting down. There is a plethora of adaptive clothing available including different kinds of shirts, pants, skirts, dresses, nightgowns, and even jackets.

What are the Features of Adaptive Clothing?

Velcro or hook-and-loop fasteners on some clothing make is easier for those who struggle with tying things or dealing with buttons. These features allow the user to simply press together strips of fabric so that they stick and pull one away from the other in order to take it off.

Magnetic waistbands can help those who struggle with snaps, buttons, and other fastener types. This feature simply replaces the button with a magnet so that your loved one can simply get the two pieces of fabric close enough for it to close through the magnets on its own. Magnetic waistbands aren’t the only adaptive clothing that uses magnets, magnetic closures can also be found on shirts, dresses, and other clothing items.

Elastic waistbands can take the place of a button or snap, and they can help almost anyone! Other options include clothing that has open backs or sides, to make the clothing easier to get into, individuals who use certain medical devices or need openings for tubes, wires, and other device components may need this type of clothing. There are also pullover designs that serve the same purpose. If your loved one spends a lot of time sitting, they may consider pants that have higher backs, which may be more comfortable.

If your loved one has clothing that they love, but need help with zippers, then you may consider pull-up tabs that make it easier for your loved one to use zippers. If your loved one has a sensory processing disorder or an increased sensitivity to tags and seams, you may consider clothing with tagless tags, seamless construction, or even flattened seams. This type of clothing reduces irritation and chafing.

Where Can I Buy Adaptive Clothing?

Here is a great list:

  • Ovidis – found at
  • Zappos – found at
  • Dignity Pajamas – found at
  • Amazon Adaptive Clothing – found at
  • Etsy – found at
  • JCPenney – found at
  • Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive – found at
  • Adaptive at Seven7 Jeans – found at

Remember that if you need any assistance, Homewatch CareGivers of Sterling is here to help you in any way we can. We are here to provide you with information and resources you need to guide you in your journey as a family caregiver. Keep browsing our website for more information, or contact us today to learn more.

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