Adaptive Clothing For Patients With Multiple Sclerosis (Less Effort When Dressing)

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

Multiple sclerosis patients often deal with mobility issues. And if your loved one is affected by it, he or she may need adaptive clothing to lessen the difficulty to self-dress. Keep reading to learn more about adaptive clothing for patients with multiple sclerosis.

Adaptive Clothing Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis patients often deal with mobility issues. And if your loved one is affected by it, he or she may need adaptive clothing to lessen the difficulty to self-dress. Keep reading to learn more about adaptive clothing for patients with multiple sclerosis.

Income Disclosure: I recommend products based on my personal experience working with seniors.
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Are you shopping for adaptive clothing for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS)? If so, you have come to the right place. There are varying degrees of progression involved in the disease known as multiple sclerosis or MS.

Depending on how your older adult has been affected by the condition, you would need to choose adaptive clothing that is appropriate for your loved one.

Weakness is the main problem at the beginning of the disease, and pull-on garments, garments with Velcro band closures or magnet closures, or garments with zippers would be ideal.

But as the disease progresses, partial paralysis may occur, and zippers can become a problem for your loved one. 

The most important thing is to assess the level of ability of your loved one and choose adaptive clothing accordingly. If the individual is unable to self-dress, a caregiver may need to assist the senior in getting dressed up and undressing.

There is adaptive clothing specially designed for such patients. If your loved one is completely paralyzed, he or she may be confined to a wheelchair or bed. Open back styles will be the best items for such persons.

On the other hand, if your senior is using a walker or confined to a wheelchair, don’t forget to look for assistive devices such as wheelchair bags, walker bags, cup holders, and more to facilitate the life of your loved one.

This article provides information on what you should consider when shopping for adaptive clothing for patients with multiple sclerosis.

What Is Adaptive Clothing?

Adaptive clothing is clothing specially designed to make life easier for people who have difficulty dressing, such as patients with multiple sclerosis. Adaptive clothing for patients with multiple sclerosis can make a positive difference in the life of your older adult.

It gives them the independence to dress themselves or enables a caregiver to dress the loved one with ease and comfort.

One of the most common problems experienced by multiple sclerosis patients when dressing or undressing is fastening buttons or zips – due to the loss of fine motor skills and movement with hands and fingers.

Adaptive clothing with Velcro or magnetic closures, open-back garments, and stretchy fabric are some of the best choices for such patients.

Adaptive clothing is usually designed with flat seams to reduce friction & discreet modifications to make them fashionable and trendy. 

Having a disability shouldn’t be an issue when it comes to clothing and fashion. Dressing has become a whole lot easier for patients with multiple sclerosis, thanks to the latest adaptive clothing for disabled adults.

This type of clothing is ideal for your older adult with special needs – whether he or she is able to self-dress or they need a caregiver to perform such tasks.

The most important thing is to choose the right type of adaptive clothing depending on the physical condition of your older adult. 

adaptive clothing multiple sclerosis affect
Some multiple sclerosis patients will have symptoms that prevent them from walking, writing, and talking.

How Does Multiple Sclerosis Affect A Person’s Ability To Dress?

Multiple sclerosis is a degenerative disorder that affects the central nervous system of the person. Although the actual cause of MS is still unknown, experts believe that the immune system of the patient is responsible for the nerve damage that occurs.

Nerve fibers are protected by a coating of a substance called myelin. Demyelination occurs in people suffering from multiple sclerosis. When the nerve ends are damaged due to an immune response, it hinders how signals move along nerves.

The nerves themselves degenerate over time in patients with multiple sclerosis.

Some patients will have symptoms that prevent them from walking, writing, and talking. On the other hand, some patients with experience partial or complete paralysis as a result of the condition.

Mobility issues are quite common with patients suffering from MS. If your loved one is unable to walk or becomes partially paralyzed as a result of multiple sclerosis, he or she may find it difficult to self-dress. 

MS can change how well you can move around and get things done. You may have to tweak how you do your daily tasks, such as getting dressed and undressed, to make them a little bit easier.

Here are some tips to get dressed when you have multiple sclerosis:

  • Sit in a chair with armrests before putting your clothes on. It helps keep your balance throughout the process.
  • Roll from side to side in order to get pants over your hips. You may do this while sitting on a chair or lying down on a bed.
  • Choose loose-fitting clothes with elastic waistbands.
  • Wear clothes with Velcro or magnetic closures and avoid clothing with buttons and zippers.
  • Opt for wrap-around clothing instead of pull-over clothing. 
  • Choose clothing that opens in the front instead of the back.
  • If you opt for clothing with zippers, use a zipper pull or a leather loop on the end of the zipper to zip the clothes. 
  • If you have a shoulder weakness, use a dressing stick to get your shirt or coat on and off.
  • If you opt for garments with buttons, don’t forget to use a buttonhook to button them.

What Types Of Adaptive Clothing Are Helpful For People With Multiple Sclerosis? 

There are different types of adaptive clothing for people with multiple sclerosis or MS. There is a range of adaptive clothing out there that is easy to put on and take off.

These clothes are made from high-quality, comfortable materials and with innovative fastenings that are quite easy to use.

Here are some of the most common types of adaptive clothing for people with multiple sclerosis:

Wheelchair-friendly clothes

These garments come with roomier bottoms and shoulders and high backs to secure them.

Wheelchair-friendly adaptive clothing uses breathable fabrics, offers ample stretch & give, eliminates irritating care tags, skips the buttons, makes zippers easier to operate, and uses Velcro & magnets for closures.

There are coats or pullovers that can be put on and taken off with one hand or completely hands-free. On the other hand, backless designs help remove the bulk and preserve the warmth & ease of access. 

Undergarments for incontinence

If your loved one deals with fecal or urinary incontinence, you should opt for bottoms that could wick moisture, resist odors, conceal soils, and be quickly removed.

Today, there is adaptive clothing for incontinence including briefs and pants that are thin, smooth, and washable. These garments feel more like underwear than bulky disposables. 

Cooling garments

Many patients with multiple sclerosis are unable to handle extreme heat and humidity. That is why you need to opt for stretchy, lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that wicks away moisture.

Cooling garments help maintain core body temperature. Some of the cooling garments include headbands, vests, kerchiefs, torso wraps, bra pads, and wrist or ankle cuffs. 

Clothing that removes pressure points

Clothing that puts pressure on the skin can cause skin discomfort and pressure sores over time. In case the rivets or seams from the back pockets rub on your skin, you should remove them, and nobody will notice since you are in a wheelchair.

Loosen tight elastics for the same reason. Opt for softer and stretchier clothing like leggings, joggers, sweatpants, and yoga pants. 

Slip-on/off footwear

Wearing normal shoes or shoes with laces can be difficult for someone who suffers from multiple sclerosis. Hence, you should opt for slip-on, zippered ankle boots, moccasins, booties, loafers, and similar footwear that securely stays on and are easy to remove.

adaptive clothing multiple sclerosis how helpful
Adaptive clothing items are designed for easy dressing and undressing of multiple sclerosis patients.

How Can Adaptive Clothing Be Helpful To Caregivers Of Adults with MS?

Most adaptive clothing items are specially designed for easy dressing and undressing of a patient with MS. If the patient cannot self-dress, he or she can dress and undress with the help of a caregiver.

Adaptive clothing more MS patients come without buttons, zippers, and tight fittings. Instead, they have magnetic or Velcro closures, open backs, and loose fittings to accommodate the needs of people with multiple sclerosis.

Adaptive footwear is easy to slip on and off with the help of a caregiver.

Where Can You Buy Adaptive Clothing For Multiple Sclerosis?

Here are some of the best places to shop for adaptive clothing for patients with multiple sclerosis:

Ovidis

Use code GWG10 to save 10% off regular prices.

Ovidis is a specialty manufacturer of clothing for people with physical or cognitive difficulties. They offer unique and innovative designs for easy and stress-free dressing by older adults, the disabled, or their caregivers.

Zappos

Zappos offers much more than adaptive shoes. They offer many adaptive clothing items as well from many of the popular adaptive clothing brands. Plus, they have an Advisory Council that reviews and selects the items they choose to sell.

Dignity Pajamas

Dignity Pajamas has created a nice niche in adaptive sleepwear for men and women. They offer many styles of sleep shirts, pajamas, and gowns with open backs and velcro closures.

Amazon Adaptive Clothing

Being one of the world’s largest retailers, Amazon offers a wide selection of adaptive clothing from many of the most popular manufacturers. Another benefit to purchasing from Amazon is their easy to navigate website and generous return policies. 

Etsy

Etsy is a great place to find one-of-a-kind adaptive clothing pieces that aren’t mass-marketed. Some Etsy sellers even offer custom-made items for special situations or will make special sizes for larger or smaller people.

JCPenney

JCPenney offers a decent selection of adaptive clothing made by standard clothing manufacturers like St. John’s Ba, a.n.a., and Worthington. Plus sizes are available too. 

You can also find adaptive clothing through brands dedicated specifically to the craft. A few examples include:

Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive

Perhaps a surprising addition to the list is well-known fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger who has a line of adaptive clothing for both adults and children. His shop is a great choice for the more fashion-forward person.

Seven7 Adaptive

This company focuses on creating stylish denim jeans that use adaptive technology like Velcro or elastic waistbands. Several of their styles are even wheelchair-friendly!

RELATED: Ultimate List of Top Adaptive Clothing Brands and Retailers

FAQs

Q: How Can You Make Your Own Clothing for MS?

A: Design the clothes in a way that’s easy to put them on and remove them. Adaptive clothing has open shoulders and necklines. They have velcro or magnetic closures instead of buttons and zippers.

Q: How Can You Adapt Existing Clothing to Be Easier for People with MS?

A: If you want to adapt your existing clothing to suit your current needs, you can easily do it by altering some of your existing clothing items.

Remove buttons and zippers from your existing clothing and include magnetic or Velcro closures to make it easier to use them. Extend the shoulder and neckline of your existing clothing items to easily put on and remove them.

Dressing and undressing can be difficult for seniors with multiple sclerosis. If your loved one suffers from MS, you should shop for adaptive clothing.

The aforementioned article provides information on what you should consider when shopping for adaptive clothing for patients with multiple sclerosis.

Photo of author

Scott Grant, CSA®, ATP, CRTS®

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Certified Rehab Technology Supplier (CRTS®)

I have been serving seniors and the elderly for over 20 years as a medical equipment and custom wheelchair specialist for a regional medical equipment company. I am also a lucky dad to four awesome daughters and grandfather to three pretty terrific grandkids. When not helping older adult improve the quality of their lives, I enjoy early morning runs and occasional kayak trips. I am also a self-admitted nerd who loves anything from the 1980's. Learn More

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