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.
"Different styles of adaptive clothing are best suited to an individual with disabilities based on the nature of the wearers condition."
Adaptive clothing are garments designed with medical function in mind for post-surgery patients, the disabled, elderly, rehabilitation patients, special needs children and adults, people with arthritis, stroke victims etc. Adapted clothes provide easy access to body parts without removing the entire garment, and make it easier to change or remove clothing.
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.
Adaptive clothing can also be referred to as easy access clothes due to their simple closures and its role in increasing the ease of dressing. Adaptive clothing and apparel is easier to use because of adaptations such as the following:
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.
Orthopedic shoes are specially-designed footwear to relieve discomfort associated with many foot and ankle disorders, such as blisters, bunions, calluses and corns, hammer toes, plantar fasciitis, or heel spurs. They may also be worn by individuals with diabetes or people with unequal leg length. These shoes typically have a low heel, tend to be wide with a particularly wide toe box, and have a firm heel to provide extra support. Some may also have a removable insole, or orthotic, to provide extra arch support.
Rocker profiles - The most commonly prescribed external therapeutic shoe modification. Rocker profiles are used to afford pressure relief for the plantar surface of the foot, to limit the need for sagittal plane motion in the joints of the foot and to alter gait kinetics and kinematics in proximal joints.
Diabetic shoes and Socks - Also referred to as extra depth, therapeutic shoes or Sugar Shoes, are specially designed shoes, or shoe inserts, intended to reduce the risk of skin breakdown in diabetics with co-existing foot disease. The diabetic shoes and custom-molded inserts work together as a preventative system to help diabetics avoid foot injuries and improve mobility.
Socks for people with diabetes are usually designed to be form-fitting and seamless in order to eliminate any potential sources of irritation. The socks might have fibers with some anti-microbial or anti-fungal properties, yet for the most part their main purpose is to not make foot issues related to diabetes any worse.
In the United States, diabetic shoes can be covered by Medicare. Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers the furnishing and fitting of either one pair of custom-molded shoes and inserts or one pair of extra-depth shoes each calendar year. Medicare also covers 2 additional pairs of inserts each calendar year for custom-molded shoes and 3 pairs of inserts each calendar year for extra-depth shoes. Medicare will cover shoe modifications instead of inserts. (www.medicare.gov/coverage/therapeutic-shoes-or-inserts.html)
In summary, adaptive clothing and footwear provides many benefits to the disabled and those with both temporary and permanent limited mobility. Whether its to access a catheter and leg bag attachment or to remove an orthopedic knee brace, handicapped, medical enhanced clothes have the potential to restore dignity, self-care, and facilitates faster, more comfortable care without sacrificing style.
Be sure to look at at the website adaptive clothing sizes charts before ordering as many retailers size clothing quite different. Even if you know the size you intend to buy, checking the chart will verify that this is indeed the correct size. For those wishing to buy cheaper adaptive clothing - or even standard shoes and clothes items - from China, Japan, Mexico etc. be sure to study our Male and Female Clothes Size Conversion Charts before ordering, as international standards regarding clothing sizes vary from country to country.
Listed below are some of the better trusted stores that sell a large variety of adaptive clothing both online, and in bricks and mortar shops, they also provide product shipping and delivery right to your door.
United States Stores
ABL Denim - (Jeans and Denim Wear) - Stephanie Alves is the founder, CEO, and designer of ABL, LLC, dba ABL Denim and The Able Tailor, inclusive design businesses dedicated to providing clothing design solutions for people with special needs. ABL Denim are the only inclusive design company currently making premium adaptive jeans and denim wear for men, women and kids. ABL Denim has been featured on CBS2 News, Quartz.com, California Apparel News, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, New Mobility Magazine, Abilities.com, and Paralyzed Veterans of America's PN News - abldenim.com
Adaptations By Adrian - Adaptations By Adrian provides basic well-designed adaptive clothing designed by Adrian himself. Adrian believes caregivers should be able to also dress patients while laying down, and use only high quality closures and fabric choices - www.adaptationsbyadrian.com
Adaptive Clothing Showroom - Provides clothing for men, women and children in need of regular or adaptive clothing to meet their ease of independent or aided dressing needs - adaptiveclothingshowroom.com
AudreySpirit - AudreySpirit designs and manufactures clothing for people with medical/surgical/mobility needs. They offer manufacture garments for two markets - xamtee therapeutic garments for care providers, and personalized xamtee garments for individual purchase called WearOurCare garments - www.audreyspirit.com
Buck and Buck - Buck and Buck has designed a variety of adaptive clothing options to choose from based upon their own observations and from discussions with customers. Their adaptive clothing designs promote independence in dressing and personal care for the wearer for as long as possible and also provide ease in the dressing process for the caregiver - www.buckandbuck.com
Comfort Clothing - Comfort Clothing are a complete source of adaptive clothes for nursing home and home health care residents and seniors, and have been serving their special clothing needs for more than 27 years. Their apparel has been adapted to best solve the particular dressing problems of wheelchair users, the elderly, geriatric patients and those suffering from such disabilities as stroke, arthritis, paralysis, diabetes, Alzheimer's Disease, edema and incontinence - www.comfortclothing.com
Dignity Pajamas - For Men & Women - Dressing and changing a frail, elderly or sick patient is a challenge for both the patient and the caregiver. Give your loved ones comfort by dressing them in easy on, easy off sleepwear. The mission at Dignity Pajamas is to help give comfort to and preserve the dignity of our loved ones in their time of need, so that the little energy they have is not wasted on wrestling with clothing, but enjoyed and cherished. Their uniquely created designs are made in the softest 100% cotton with sophisticated prints and soft fine detailing and trims for the discriminating customer - www.dignitypajamas.com
Easy Access - Easy Access makes adaptable clothing for men, women and children. Clothing in a variety of styles, colors and fabrics. Examples include camo cargo pants, Polartec hooded capes for children and polo shirt bodysuits - easyaccessclothing.com
FootSmart - The online store FootSmart carries shoes, orthotics, socks, home treatment products, products that can help with arthritis and even some clothing to help back problems. You can browse by types of products or gender. They also allow you to browse via foot conditions, (things like diabetes that can affect feet), and lower body issues (including back, ankles, knee ailments). Most of their products look just like regular shoes and socks - www.footsmart.com
Janska - Janska offers a wide selection of fashionable clothing made from Polartec fleece. Products range from stylish raincoats to arm and hand warmers to fleece booties and cloche hats. These colorful clothing items are manufactured for men and women - janska.com
LegaWear - LegaWear sews custom made pieces made to the specifications of the consumer. Items that can be ordered include pants, shirts, jackets, trousers, suits and tuxedos. The company serves both men, women and children who need upscale clothing that reflect the individual's personal taste in design and fabric - www.legawear.com
Professional Fit Clothing - Since 1987, Professional Fit Clothing has established a much-needed service for people with disabilities. They provide adaptive clothing and accessories for people with special needs including those in State Developmental Centers, Veterans Homes and Hospitals, Intensive care facilities, Retirement and Group homes - www.professionalfit.com
Etsy - Adaptive Clothing for people with physical disabilities - www.etsy.com
Canadian Adaptive Clothing Stores
IZ Adaptive - Izzy Camilleri Adaptive Clothing (IZ Adaptive for short) is the first store in Toronto, Canada, featuring a collection of fashionable apparel for women and men who have a physical disability and use a wheelchair. Camilleri's clothing was featured in the film The Devil Wears Prada and she has dressed actors including Angelina Jolie and Merlyn Streep as well as David Bowie. The dressing room in the Toronto showroom is equipped to handle wheelchair movement, and the staff are well versed in approaching wheelchair users to discuss modifications that may be needed to fit items more specifically to individual customers - www.izadaptive.com
Boutiques Chic Chez Vous - Boutiques Chic Chez Vous distribute their own adaptive clothing brand, Collection Innova . Boutiques Chic chez vous offer a range of products that meet the needs of people suffering from a loss of independence who live either at home or in an assisted-living center. They are dedicated to the socio-economic integration of people living with mental health problems and strive to create stable rewarding job opportunities. When buying their products, you are assisting people dealing with a mental health issue - www.chicchezvous.com
Geri Fashions - Geri Fashions is the brainchild of two nurses who worked in local nursing homes. They realized, through their own experiences, that clothing could be designed to make dressing easier for both the care giver and the patient/resident with reduced mobility in their limbs. A unique line of clothing was born. They develop fashions that are attractive, comfortable and easy to get on and off for the wheel-chair bound and customers who require assistance with dressing and fashionable current apparel for their ambulatory clients - www.gerifashions.com
Creation Confort Adaptive Clothing - Since the late 1980s, Creation Confort Adaptive Clothing has been pursuing its mission, to facilitate the lives of elderly care, special needs and people with disabilities such as Alzheimers and arthritis, as well as their caregivers. "Caregivers are always glad to learn about the advantages of adaptive and specially-designed clothing," asserts Andre Bellefeuille, President of Creation Confort. "Well-meaning people try to 'modify' a pair of pants or pajamas, not realizing that a poor fit or a seam in the wrong place can disturb sleep and cause irritation or even bedsores for someone who spends much of the day sitting or lying down," Ms. Bouchard explains. Furthermore, their adaptive clothing is made to withstand the frequent washing and drying it goes through in a residential care facility - www.creationconfort.com
Mini-Miracles - Mini-Miracles is a source for special needs clothing for children, adults and seniors in Canada. They provide customers with high quality products and service and offer adaptive clothing selections that are lacking in the marketplace to date - www.minimiracles.ca
JBS Clothing - JBS Clothing has been a leading provider of conventional and adaptive clothing, proudly servicing Senior and Disabled members of the community since 1988. For ease of service customers can purchase through their website, mobile store or order directly by phone.
NOTE: Adaptive Clothing Tax - Adaptive clothing in Quebec is exempt from federal and provincial tax when prescribed by a physician.Reliable Home Care Agency Adaptive Clothing - Reliable Home Care Agency offers adaptive clothing for seniors, people with physical limitations, Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, MS, degenerative illnesses and for those persons who need quality outfits offering discretion - reliablehomecare.ca/adaptive-clothing
Adaptive Clothing Shops in Europe & U.K.
Able2Wear - Able2Wear sells adaptive men's suits, shirts, trousers and outdoor wear, as well as women's and children's outdoor wear and accessories. While their focus is primarily for seated customers, they offer adaptive clothing options for other disabilities, such as MS, MD and CP - www.able2wear.co.uk
Brothers & Sisters - A new range of high quality 100% Organic cotton bodysuits featuring a new design that allows for tube feeding without obvious holes or slits in the garment - brothersandsisterslondon.com
Rackety's - Provides a wide variety of casual clothing options for people of all ages. Of particular note is the swimsuits for children, which include a bikini style for girls. Their mission is to add a rainbow of color and sparkle into the rather grey healthcare industry, reflecting the vibrant, challenging and colorful lives of their customers - www.disabled-clothing.co.uk
The Able Label - Provides quality, stylish clothes with adapted designs and hidden extras that make self-dressing easier for those with dressing difficulties - www.theablelabel.com
Adaptive Clothing Shopping in Australia
Adaptawear Clothing - Adaptawear Clothing Australia is an Australian owned business, with a focus on improving the lives of the elderly, those with special needs and disabilities, as well as children's adaptive clothing, by making the dressing process easier and less painful for both the care giver as well as those in need of dressing - adaptawear.com.au
Able Clothing - Created as a service for families and carers who have struggled to find clothing suitable for their loved ones. Their product designs are customized with special needs children in mind. Our adapted clothing range offers comfort, are time saving, and have special features required to dress and undress with ease. The aim of our garments is to give dignity and comfort to the wearer whilst looking fashionable - ableclothing.com.au
Dignitee - Dignitee was set up to sell unique, stylish and comfortable clothing for men and woman who have any kind of disability and required clothing that is adapted to enable them to dress or be dressed with as little discomfort while still remaining fashionable and discreet. Dignitees goals are to produce clothing for any disability at a reasonable and competitive price and which can be available to anyone in Australia by purchasing online or through aged care homes. All clothing is hand sewn in Australia and materials purchased in Australia - dignitee.com.au
Adapted Clothes for Down Syndrome
Ashley - Clothing for People with Down Syndrome by Ashley. Ashley is a 30 year old woman who has Down syndrome and loves fashion. She decided to do something about it and started designing her own clothing. Ashley has launched her own line of clothing specifically developed for people with Down syndrome, 'Ashley By Design' - ashleybydesign.com - ( Read Ashley's story ).
Downs Designs Dreams - Downs Designs line of jeans are designed for people with Down syndrome. They provide solutions from ages two and up along with 18 different styles based on body types. In 2014, Karen saw an even greater need for stretchy, stylish pull-on jeans for individuals of standard size creating their NBZ line. They feel that these jeans without the hassles of tags, buttons, and zippers along with easy to pull up elastic waistbands could be very beneficial for individuals with cerebral palsy, Parkinson's, autism, arthritis, paralysis, injured veterans, stoke, elderly, etc. The jeans have a mock fly and fashionable presence making them unnoticed compared to standard jeans - Downs Designs Dreams
Adapted Clothes for Amputees
Amped Up - Amped Up is a special line of adapted clothing designed for amputees to make dressing much easier for people with disabilities.
Adapted Clothes for Veterans
Sew Much Comfort - Sew Much Comfort is a charity organization who coordinate sewing adaptive clothing for wounded soldiers returning home - www.sewmuchcomfort.org
Operation Undergarment - Operation Undergarment is a grass roots clothing drive to provide injured and sick soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen that are deployed in combat zones with clothing items to make their hospital stays more comfortable - www.operationundergarment.org
Wounded Wear - Wounded Wear provides free clothing and free clothing modifications to wounded warriors - combatwoundedcoalition.org
Resources for Designing and Making Adaptive Clothing at Home:
Pinterest - Provides a wide range of pictures with links to adapted clothing projects you can do from home - (www.pinterest.com/lmswedberg/diy-adaptive-clothing/)
Adaptive Clothing for Elderly and People with Disabilities Forum - Provides a place to post questions and solutions for sewing your own adaptive clothing - (sewing.patternreview.com/SewingDiscussions/topic/57190)
Fashion Freaks - The Fashion Freaks website is filled with basic patterns and sewing instructions, descriptions on how to adapt ready made clothes and so much more - all of it suited for wheelchair users - (en.fashionfreaks.se)
The Seams - An independent podcast and occasional story series for NPR, explores the business of fashion for the disabled - www.theseams.org