Paralysis, lowered mobility, and other physical challenges make it difficult for older adults to get in and out of their clothes. At Silverts, we believe getting seniors dressed should be the least of a caregiver’s struggles. That’s why people all over the world trust us to put their aging parents and patients in safe, stylish clothing that is easy to wear. With over 85 years under our belts, Silverts has plenty of knowledge and experience in assisted dressing. Here are our tips for dressing elderly loved ones, as collected through first-hand experience and numerous consultations with clients and health care professionals.
Understand the needs you are trying to address
First, think about why dressing your senior family member or patient is a challenge. Is their limited mobility affecting their ability to raise or slip their limbs into sleeves and pant legs? Is swelling posing a problem in getting their feet to fit into shoes? Determine all of these needs before tackling a solution.
Try Adaptive Clothing
Adaptive clothing is specially designed to make dressing easier and more comfortable. There are a number of products – including tops, bottoms, undergarments, and shoes – with built-in features to address older adults’ specific needs.
If they are independent dressers, look for apparel that features closures that are easy to use with limited dexterity, such as VELCRO® tabs or magnetic snap buttons. If they need assistance getting in and out of clothing, look for tops that open from the back and bottoms that stretch to fit. Other needs can be met with more products with special features.
Going up in size is NOT the answer
A common mistake we see with caregivers is the tendency to buy clothing and footwear in larger sizes just to accommodate swelling, limited mobility, and weight fluctuations. When apparel does not fit well, it can lead to injuries and falls. This is especially dangerous when going up in shoe sizes, as feet only change in width with swelling.
Adaptive clothing and footwear is always a better, safer, and more comfortable option. Wide width or adjustable shoes adapt to fit swollen feet. Elastic waist pants are great for dealing with the weight fluctuations that come with aging.
Keep it simple
When it comes to clothing elderly loved ones, keeping things simple makes the process of getting them dressed and undressed that much smoother. Pare down their wardrobe by getting rid of excess pieces; too many choices can be overwhelming for those with dementia or symptoms like impaired memory and judgment.
Don’t forget the footwear
We often find people overlook the importance of proper footwear for older adults. Aside from the aforementioned foot swelling, other shoe-related concerns arise with age, for instance proneness to falls and poor circulation. Non-slid socks and shoes improve traction indoors and outdoors. A great pair of slippers can also add warmth, support, and comfort when extremities feel cold.
Do you have additional tips for dressing seniors? Let us know in the comments section below!