Marilyn developed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease, at the age of 74. Her hands were the first part of her body affected. Eventually, every day tasks that were once simple became difficult for her to perform on her own. One such task was getting dressed. When Marilyn talked to an occupational therapist about the problem, she suggested that Marilyn try adaptive clothing and gave her a list of retailers to look into. At first, Marilyn was worried that the clothing might be ugly or uncomfortable. She was pleasantly surprised to discover that many of the clothes didn’t look any different from what she was used to wearing, they just fastened a bit differently.
If you’re struggling with ways to help your older family member to dress more easily and independently, there are a number of adaptive clothing options and devices to help them.
Adaptive clothing is clothing that is designed for people with disabilities. It uses different kinds of fasteners than regular clothing. For example, instead of using buttons that may be impossible for someone who has suffered a stroke to manipulate through button holes, they might use Velcro or magnetic buttons. Or, they may open in a different way. Shirts that open in the back instead of the front can be easier to put on because they don’t require arms to bend in the same way.
Many major retailers, including stores like Target, are beginning to offer adaptive clothing for people of all ages and disabilities. However, if you have difficulty finding adaptive clothing, making good choices in regular clothing can also make dressing easier. Shirts that pull over the head instead of having to be buttoned up the front are easier for older adults whose hands don’t work well. Skirts and over-the-head dresses may be easier for older women to put on.
Tools for Dressing.
In addition to clothing that is easier to put on, older adults may also benefit from using tools to aid them in dressing. Examples of dressing aids include dressing sticks that help them to pull on pants or shoes without bending down, button hooks that make it easier to maneuver buttons through button holes, and elastic shoelaces that don’t require tying.
Even with dressing aids, some older adults may still be unable to dress themselves. Elder care providers can assist with daily dressing, both in the morning and at night. And, it may be more comfortable for your aging relative to allow an elder care provider to help them dress than a family member. This is because they may view the elder care provider as a professional, sort of like a doctor or nurse, and be less self-conscious about being undressed in front of them.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Havana, FL, please call the caring staff at Hopewell In-Home Senior Care today at 850-386-5552. Providing Senior Care Services in North Florida