There are a number of activities we take for granted while we’re young and healthy, such as going for a walk, reading distant signs and even getting out of bed. Dressing, too, is a big problem for elderly people. Even though some of us might spend hours in front of the mirror picking out a pair of jeans to match a shirt, the actual motion of donning those garments is a minute task. But as years pass by, the dexterity in our fingers starts to degrade until unbuttoning a shirt or even tying a shoelace becomes a frustrating challenge.
Luckily the market offers several dressing aids for seniors and patients with disabilities. Meanwhile caregivers and family members should also learn how to cope with the situation and provide support without harming the elderly person’s independence.
Honoring Dignity and Providing Comfort
Seniors who struggle with clothes might seem grumpy or moody, but that’s only a means of hiding their embarrassment for getting stuck with a task that they had once so easily completed in the past. Aging adults often refuse to ask for help and instead keep waging an unwinnable war against the fabric. In these cases you should be sure to intervene, but do so in a non-intrusive way. Don’t insult the elderly person’s dignity by forcefully stripping them. For one thing, it may just be that they have trouble with only one specific type of clothing, or even just with the buttons.
To avoid unnecessary issues from arising, make sure to comfort them first. If they have any sort of request or preference, then be sure to follow through with it. For instance, they might want a family member of a specific gender to dress them, or for you to turn away while they switch garments. It’s very important to honor their wishes, otherwise they won’t feel comfortable around you.
Dressing Aids for Elderly
Understandably, seniors don’t want to be a burden for others by asking for their help every time they need to change their clothes. As such, inventors and designers have come up with a multitude of clever tools that make the process of dressing easy again.
Aging adults with stiff joints would surely welcome the dressing stick. The uniquely bent hook at the main end can help them with adjusting the sleeve of the shirt, as well as picking up any clothes that lay on the ground. There is also a small C-shaped hook at the other end for zippers or untying shoelace loops.
Speaking of shoes, there are a wide variety of products designed to spare seniors the effort of bending over. Extra-long shoehorns, lace-locks that secure the laces without tying them, and even sockaids, which assist the aging user in pulling up their socks with the help of two handles. And finally, our personal favorite, a button hook that uses a wire loop to effortlessly pull the button through the hole.
Adaptive Clothing for Seniors
Not all elderly women or men are in a state where a simple tool can compensate for the struggles they might have in their ability to dress. Those who are disabled or live with a cognitive impairment (such as patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s) require constant assistance to put on their attire. For this reason, a special range of clothes was created with garments that are easy to put on and comply with the special needs of the patient.
Adaptive clothing covers the whole wardrobe, from top to bottom. From shirts that ditch buttons in favor of magnetic clasps to side-opening leggings with elastic waists and footwear that fits a swollen foot, adaptive clothing caters to all kinds of special needs.
In the end, all that matters is that seniors should retain their right to wear comfortable clothes without sacrificing convenience.
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