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Disability Adaptive Clothing for Disabled and Elderly

Outline: Information on ease of use adaptive clothing designed for people with disabilities, seniors, and mobility challenged, includes definitions and glossary of terms relating to adapted clothes. Adaptive clothing is defined as garments and footwear specially designed for people with disabilities. For some conditions, particular with the elderly, it is essential that the materials used are not going to be abrasive to the skin.

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What is Adaptive Clothing?

Adaptive clothing, or adapted clothes, are defined as clothing, garments and footwear specially designed for people with physical disabilities, the elderly, the infirm and post surgery patients who may have difficulty 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 eg. arthritis sufferers, quadriplegics and paraplegics. Adapted clothing also makes dressing and undressing patients easier for caregivers, nurses, and hospice staff, and provide nonrestrictive comfort to the wearer.

There are many styles and medical purposes for disabled clothing - mostly garments with zippers that provide access to parts of the body that would otherwise require the clothes to be removed entirely. With adaptive clothing, a disabled or elderly patient can retain dignity, can provide some level of self-care, and experience the added comfort of quicker access to medical appliances and needs for both them and for a nurse or physician.

Who Wears Adaptive Clothing?

Over fifty-five million people in the United States have some kind of disability, some of them with challenges requiring a high level of care by others. Most people in any walk of life know someone who has a disability, and many of these disabilities can make even simple tasks like getting dressed very difficult. Medical adaptive clothes are useful for those with limited mobility (temporary or permanent) and medical conditions including: the elderly, the disabled, post-surgery needs, nursing homes, special needs, joint therapy, incontinence, fitness needs, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, stroke victims, arthritis victims, and others.

Ginger Dosedel, founder of Sew Much Comfort*, visits with arriving patients April 6 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Sew Much Comfort is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that designs adaptive clothing for wounded and injured servicemembers. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Chuck Roberts).
Ginger Dosedel, founder of Sew Much Comfort*, visits with arriving patients April 6 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Sew Much Comfort is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that designs adaptive clothing for wounded and injured servicemembers. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Chuck Roberts).

What to Look For When Purchasing Adaptive Clothes

Purchasing Garments Online or Overseas?

Linda Trumble, vice-president of Sew Much Comfort*, an organization that produces adaptive clothing for injured servicemembers, demonstrates how pants are adapted to fit over an external fixator device, where screws are placed into the bone and a device is attached to the screws from outside the skin during a visit to Peterson AFB March 31. The pants are adapted to fit over the device allowing the patient to blend in while out in public. Along with all the civilian clothing they produce or alter, Sew Much Comfort also adapts uniforms for those returning to duty. Since its inception, Sew Much Comfort has shipped more than 75,000 articles of clothing to Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other military hospitals and recovery centers around the world. (U.S. Air Force photo by Duncan Wood).
Linda Trumble, vice-president of Sew Much Comfort*, an organization that produces adaptive clothing for injured servicemembers, demonstrates how pants are adapted to fit over an external fixator device, where screws are placed into the bone and a device is attached to the screws from outside the skin during a visit to Peterson AFB March 31. The pants are adapted to fit over the device allowing the patient to blend in while out in public. Along with all the civilian clothing they produce or alter, Sew Much Comfort also adapts uniforms for those returning to duty. Since its inception, Sew Much Comfort has shipped more than 75,000 articles of clothing to Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other military hospitals and recovery centers around the world. (U.S. Air Force photo by Duncan Wood).

In clothing, clothing size is defined as the label sizes used for male and female garments sold off-the-shelf. There are various standard sizing systems around the world depending on the garments, such as dresses, tops, skirts, and trousers - as well as size differences by country.

For those wishing to buy cheaper adaptive clothing - or even standard shoes and clothes items - from China, Japan, Mexico, Italy etc. be sure to study our Male and Female Clothes Size Conversion Charts before ordering, as international standards regarding clothing sizes can vary greatly from country to country.

Neck Size: Measurement Chart and Health Information - Information on how to measure human neck size. Includes collar sizes measurement chart in inches and centimeters, and possible health implications relating to larger neck sizes.

Designing and Making Adaptive Clothing at Home

Glossary of Accessible Clothing Terms

Sew Much Comfort

*Sew Much Comfort is a nonprofit organization of more than 1,000 volunteers world-wide who provide adaptive clothing for injured servicemembers at no cost. They alter clothing to meet the unique needs of those recovering from their wounds, or they create clothing from scratch. Since its inception, Sew Much Comfort has shipped more than 75,000 articles of clothing to Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other military hospitals and recovery centers around the world. For more information about Sew Much Comfort, visit their Web site at www.sewmuchcomfort.org

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