Adaptive clothing is clothes that are modified or specially designed to enable easier dressing for the elderly facing various age-related health issues, including arthritic fingers and weakness. As well as people suffering from some form of permanent or temporary disability. Therefore, clothes that are easily accessible, comfortable, easy to put on or take off without much effort are needed to provide comfort, dignity and self-sufficiency to elders. It will also help caregivers in dressing their wards.
Along with a wide range of issues faced by the Elderly due to advancing age, declining physical ability is particularly frustrating. Day to day activities like cooking, shopping, home-maintenance, personal hygiene and grooming can become increasingly difficult with age, even in reasonably healthy adults. The loss of independence gets magnified manifold if there are specific health issues like debilitating disease or mental health conditions.
In India, it is estimated that almost 3% of the population has some form of disability – physical or neurological. In fact, chances are that at some point in our lives, all of us can be temporarily impaired!
Adaptive clothes can be a boon and especially beneficial for elders with the following conditions that make movement and co-ordination difficult:
• Multiple Sclerosis.
• Muscular Dystrophy.
• Post Stroke or partial paralysis.
• Post-Operative patients.
• Temporary Physical Injury.
• Chronic health conditions.
• Covid-19 and Post Covid weakness.
• Post Covid Syndrome or Long- Haul Covid.
Our country has been generally neglectful and insensitive to people with special needs, but now with growing awareness about the need for adaptive clothes, there is increasing demand from the concerned people and Hospitals, Nursing homes, Assisted Living Care homes etc. are also clamoring for such apparel. The demand for adaptive clothing for a humongous elderly population and rising forms of disabilities world-wide is giving rise to high growth in this sector. Now several designers and some multinational brands are designing stylish adaptive clothes. Since our elderly, especially from higher socio-economic backgrounds want to look stylish and fashionable too!
Today, the demand for adaptive clothes in India seems to exceed the supply. More brands and individual designers in India need to explore this growing segment of the apparel industry, including more retailers selling such clothes. Globally, the adaptive clothing market is huge and expected to surpass around US 393 Billion Dollars by 2026.
Amongst the many special attributes, advantages and convenient wearability of thoughtfully designed garments by knowledgeable and innovative designers are:
• Struggle-free seated dressing.
• Wrap-around Sarees that can be worn lying down.
• Shoulder-open Nightgown.
• Open-front Robes and Dresses.
• Velcro closure, front, back and shoulder openings of Kurtas, dresses and blouses/tops.
• Zippered sides of pants that open up on both sides, elastic waist-band and roomy enough to accommodate Incontinence Aids.
• Magnetic closures, snap buttons.
• Adaptive Innerwear for women.
• Easy fastenings in garments that completely open-up, useful for wheelchair users.
• Clothes with special cuts and tactile qualities for Visually impaired elders.
• Clothes designed based on deep compression therapy, for Autistic individuals.
The following are some of the names and brands of the compassionate and innovative designers who are devotedly designing adaptive clothing. Often inspired by close personal experience.
• Zyenika, by Soumita Basu.
• MoveAbility, by Joe and Murielle Ikareth.
• Aaram Se, by Ashima Bhan.
• Sakshi Manhot.
• Old is Gold, by Cocoon Senior Dressing.
• 6 Dots, by Parul Sachdeva.
• Reset, by Monika and Usha Dugar.
• Ekansh Trust, by Anita Iyer Narayan.
This trust showcases adaptive clothing designs contributed by designers and fashion-design students, that anyone can access and copy for free. You can even choose certain aspects from different garments that appeal to you, to create a piece that your tailor can stitch.
Sometimes, only a few adjustments and innovations can be made to existing garments for ease of dressing.
So go ahead and experiment, for functional yet stylish dressing – for elders who want their wardrobe to reflect their personal taste as well as comfort and convenience.
“Clothes Cognition” is about the impact clothes have on the wearer’s psychological processes. Some clothes make us feel good, confident, empowered – others, inadequate.
EMOHA ELDERCARE is devoted to the comprehensive welfare of Elders. Do please contact us for any further information. For us, it is always #ELDERSFIRST.