Adaptive Clothing Can Make Life Easier for the Disabled
After surviving major accidents and surgeries, many of the newly disabled must address unexpected life challenges. For example, they must find clothes that help minimize their pain and discomfort while dressing each day and trying to increase their mobility. Others disabled people must either search for clothing that will not interfere with their care while bedridden — or when moving about using wheelchairs or other assistive devices.
Should temporarily or permanently disabled adults or children want clothing that also looks fashionable, they will have to look even harder to meet their needs. While many stylish yet adaptive clothes can be a bit expensive, careful internet searches can still turn up worthwhile bargains. We all have a right to try and wear clothes that accent our sense of style and level of self-reliance or independence.
Companies marketing clothes to the disabled can also sell them to America’s many seniors
Fortunately, a growing number of companies with well-known clothing labels have begun designing and marketing clothes for the disabled during the past decade. They are partially motivated by the fact that America’s growing senior population also has a need for adaptive clothing. Health issues like arthritis make it necessary for many seniors to purchase clothes that are simple to put on and take off each day.
Here is a closer look at the helpful features of adaptive clothing and the names of some of the companies that have been selling it for many decades. Well-known clothing lines that have recently entered this market are also referenced, along with smaller companies that seem to have also created their own niche markets.
What exactly is adaptive clothing?
This type of clothing provides customers with simpler ways to dress and undress each day. Many wearers of adaptive clothing also need their clothes to remain in place, to the full extent possible. The disabled, the elderly and those who are temporarily sick often prefer adaptive clothes with special side openings and back closure features – that do not interfere with assistive devices like canes, crutches, and wheelchairs.
Common features of various types of adaptive clothing are listed below
- Magnetic buttons. These can help the disabled get dressed (and undressed) each day – while minimizing any pain that may be involved.
- VELCRO brand closures. This technology makes it much easier for people who have lost the flexible use of their fingers to put on their clothes and shoes each day. Caregivers for patients who are temporarily or permanently paralyzed – or coping with paraplegia or tetraplegia (quadriplegia) also find these types of closures helpful. Should a disabled person have problems with incontinence, VELCRO closures help make quick cleanups possible.
- Large snaps. These can often be just as helpful as metal buttons.
- Extra sturdy zippers. These are often placed on the side of clothing to make it easier for people to get in and out of dresses and other daily wear.
- Easy touch closures. Like VELCRO in some ways, these closures are a must for adults wanting to dress themselves, despite serious problems with one or both arms or legs.
- Elastic waists for pants. While these have long been popular with people struggling with weight issues, they are especially useful to those with a limited ability to put on or pull up a pair of pants. These pants also greatly simply everyday caregiver tasks.
- Seatless pants. Many older Americans and the disabled struggle with incontinence. These kinds of pants help all disabled people stay clean and dry throughout the day as new underwear must be put on.
- Sensory-friendly clothing. This means that even the sight-impaired can touch certain items on this clothing to help them perceive special features – like size and color.
- Special slippers with unique, non-slip soles. These features help the disabled avoid falls since they are often far sturdier than other footwear. Special backstraps or back closure features can help hold these slippers on. Many of these slippers also offer extra padding.
- Pant legs and sleeves that can be easily rolled upwards or downwards. These are particularly useful for those moving about in wheelchairs.
Is there a large market for adaptive clothing?
There is most definitely a large and growing market for adaptive clothing, especially when you factor in America’s rapidly expanding senior population. Here are some relevant statistics.
- In 2019, online searches for adaptive clothing increased by eighty percent (80 %).
- The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) estimates that about one-fourth of the U. S. population is currently living with one type of disability or another.
- Nearly fourteen percent (14%) of us must cope with a disability that affects our mobility.
- Almost eleven percent (11%) of Americans struggle with some type of cognitive disability that affects their daily functioning – this includes their memory and the ability to concentrate and process information correctly. Many who have these problems can even forget how to properly dress themselves.
- Two out of every five adults age 65 and older have a disability.
- Problems with obesity are common among the disabled since they often have many physical limitations hampering their ability to pursue useful exercise. Thirty-eight percent (38 %) of the disabled – compared to only twenty-six percent (26%) of the non-disabled have problems with obesity. Being overweight always greatly increases a person’s chances of either becoming sick more often – or having a harder time conquering most infections.
Are most adaptive clothes only available online — or are some also in stores?
The clothing companies listed first below may still be mainly available online or in catalogs. However, the designer fashion lines that have entered this market during the past decade (glance toward the end of the following list) are probably available in some brick-and-mortar stores.
- Buck & Buck first recognized this important clothing market over 30 years ago. Catalog sales have largely given way to an online portal for making purchases. This company quickly realized that in addition to selling clothes to older patients, they should also offer their items to the disabled.
- Silverts continues to offer a highly diverse array of clothes for the disabled and others who need unique features that can help them get dressed or use various assistive devices.
- Easy Access. This company provides quality disabled clothing for men, women, and children.
- Adaptations by Adrian. This clothier offers a wide range of goods designed to help the disabled community. It has been in business since 1993.
- Able 2 Wear. Based in England, this company offers an unusually large array of clothes
- IZ Adaptive Clothing. This company offers non-gender clothing as well as items specifically designed for both men and women.
- Tommy Hilfiger. This design group first created clothing for disabled children in 2016 and then expanded that line to include adults two years later.
- UGG. This footwear company offers special types of slippers for the disabled.
- American Eagle. Among other items, this company offers women special kinds of underwear that fastens on the side with either VELCRO or other simple closure mechanisms.
Before buying from any new clothing company, it is always wise to read about its return policy. Depending on the nature of your personal disabilities, you should also consider first just buying one or two items from a new company to see how they fit on your body – before ordering more. Finally, always be sure to also look up consumer ratings for each company online before purchasing anything.
If you have been seriously hurt in any type of major accident, please be sure to contact our NYC personal injury law firm. We will carefully investigate the facts of your case and then fight hard to win the maximum compensation available for you. We want all our clients to receive generous settlement amounts or verdicts, so they are fully compensated for all their lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other losses.