Putting on clothes can be a knotty task for elderly people with medical problems that hinder their regular movements.
A stroke, for instance, can result in a person losing mobility and strength, as can arthritis and Parkinson’s disease.
Simple tasks, such as buttoning a shirt or pulling up a zip, suddenly become a frustrating experience for them. These people may need help from a caregiver, but, even so, it can be a demeaning and tricky process for both parties.
One way to make things easier is to use “adaptive apparel”, said Ms Punithamani Kandasamy, a registered nurse and caregiving trainer at Active Global Specialised Caregivers.
Adaptive clothes have details like Velcro tabs instead of zips and buttons, as well as adjustable or removable components that help to save time and reduce the risk of injury.
“More importantly, this type of clothing improves one’s comfort and bolsters self-esteem,” she said.
Adaptive clothes are available online, from websites such as Purple Threads and Silverts.com.
Choose materials that are gentle on the skin, said Ms Punithamani. “Where possible, designs and colours should be aligned to the wearer’s preference, as well- selected clothes also enhance his psychological well- being.”
Meanwhile, therapeutic footwear can be found at retailers like The Diabetic Shop and The Shoe Co.
Ms Punithamani explains how different types of adaptive apparel and footwear can be useful for both the wearer and the caregiver.
Poon Chian Hui
Older people who suffer from arthritis, swollen feet and legs, or who are prone to foot diseases, may benefit from special footwear.
Therapeutic shoes may have removable insoles and arch support, and wedges or heels that prevent injuries. For instance, “rocker bottom” shoes have thick soles that ease pressure on the ball of the foot. The rounded heels help to limit unnecessary motion in the ankle and mid-foot. For people with arthritis, this makes walking less painful.