Adaptive Clothing or Dressing Aids: Which Option is Best for Your Needs?

Adaptive clothing and dressing aids have similarities, and while some overlap may occur, they are also different. This blog will help you decide if you need to seek out adaptive (also called adapted) clothing or if a few simple dressing aids are all that you need to help stay as independent as possible with this daily living function. Information for this blog came from the article Adaptive Clothing with product suggestions linked from our very own ILA website.

What is Adaptive Clothing?

Adaptive clothing is clothing designed for people with physical disabilities, the elderly, and the infirm who may have trouble dressing themselves due to an inability to manipulate closures, such as buttons and zippers, or due to a lack of a full range of motion required for self-dressing.

Adaptive clothing typically offers rear-closure designs so that an individual can be dressed more easily by a caregiver or even by themselves. For example, rather than buttons and zippers, hidden magnets, or Velcro (also referred to as “hook and closure”) may be used for garment and footwear closures. A common misconception of adaptive clothing is that it is only for wheelchair users or others that suffer from severe disabilities. While these groups do benefit from these type garments, adaptive clothing is for anyone that can be limited by traditional clothing. Adaptive clothing not only benefit the wearer but also the caregiver or health care professional to be more efficient and helps prevent potential back and shoulder injuries.

Examples of adaptive clothing:

  • Adaptive Shoes and pants that are adjustable in size and offer non-restrictive closures.
  • Clothing that can be removed easily and quickly and can accommodate incontinence aids discreetly and comfortably.
  • Buttons and zippers are replaced with easy touch hook or magnetic closures.
  • Open back clothing which allows the clothing to be put on frontwards, eliminating the need to bend or rotate muscles or joints.

What are Dressing Aids?

A dressing aid is an item that’s purpose is to assist those with limited flexibility or mobility when putting on clothes, socks, and shoes. They can help with maintaining a sense of independence and reduce painful bending or stretching. Anyone that finds the movements involved with getting changed or personal grooming difficult may benefit from a dressing aid.  (Click on the name of each type of product below to go to the applicable webpage to order)

Common Types of Dressing Aids:

Zipper Pulls/Button Hooks: Zipper pulls are designed to make grasping your zipper a lot easier and usually work with any standard zipper. No more struggling and straining to reach your buttons and zippers. Here is a dressing aid that helps people with limited mobility or vision. It is specifically designed to help you grab and hold those small little buttons and zipper pulls with the greatest of ease.

Telescopic Shoe Horn: This long-handed shoehorn helps reduce the amount of bending over involved with putting your shoes on. It helps create a slick movement that not only helps limit bending but also helps prevent the back of the shoe wearing down.

Sock Pro Color Sock Holders: Set of 24 clips helps keep socks together from the minute they come off your feet till the time they end up back in your drawer all nice and clean.  Slip 2 socks through the round disc, and they stay together throughout their travels so that you don’t have to worry about walking out the door wearing one brown and one black sock. Good for both athletic or dress socks.  Package of 24 in assorted colors. 

Metal Rehab Reacher: This handy grabber will make life much easier when reaching for things on the top shelf or down off the floor. It is ideal for individuals with limited hand strength.

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