After a person has had a stroke, they might experience hemiparesis or hemiplegia, which causes paralysis or weakness (on one side of the body). Due to this weakness, stroke patients often find it very difficult to get dressed.
What Is Adaptive Clothing?
Adaptive clothing for disabled adults is clothes designed especially for individuals with different types of disabilities. This often includes providing a one-handed zipper on a shoe, replacing a button with a magnetic closure, and clothing designs that allow the patient to get dressed or undressed while seated.
How Can A Stroke Affect A Person’s Ability to Get Dressed?
Getting dressed is one of those bilateral chores that involve both the right and left sides of a person’s brain. After experiencing a stroke, areas of the brain may suffer damage.
This can make it harder for a stroke victim to perform some of the more intricate movements that are needed to get dressed, including cinching belts, tying shoes, or buttoning shirts.
After a stroke, many people experience one or more of the following issues:
Apraxia affects how a person plans out their movements, even when they have the coordination, strength, and range of motion to do so. They can also experience problems while dressing where they find it difficult to start or plan the task.
This is an issue where a person finds it difficult to move from one idea or concept to the next. For example, the stroke victim may find it difficult to go from buttoning their shirt to the next task of tucking the shirt in.
Some people can get very tired while trying to get dressed. Things they once did quickly without any thought now involve substantial thinking and energy.
What Types Of Adaptive Clothing Are Helpful For People Who’ve Had A Stroke?
Putting clothes on can become a difficult task for older adults with a medical problem that often hinders regular movements. For instance, a stroke can cause a person to lose strength and mobility.
Basic tasks, such as pulling up zips or buttoning shirts, suddenly turn into a highly frustrating experience. These people might need the assistance of a caregiver, but even when they do, it can become a tricky and demeaning process for the patient and the caregiver.
Here is a list of adaptive footwear and apparel that is useful for the caregiver and the wearer:
Older adults that have suffered a stroke or from swollen legs and feet, or arthritis, can benefit from adaptive and special footwear.
Therapeutic shoes can offer arch support, removable insoles, heels, or wedges to help prevent injuries. For example, “rocker bottom” shoes feature thicker soles that help to ease pressure around the ball of the foot.
Rounded heels also assist with limiting unnecessary motion to the mid-foot and the ankle.
These are garments that come with a big overlapping flap that stretches over the back from each shoulder. The garment is secured with snap-on fasteners. This type of clothing is easy to slip on from the front (similar to putting on a jacket back to front).
The open-back shirts are excellent for stroke victims since the wearer won’t have to lift their arms or attempt to pull their shirt over their head. These garments are also great for individuals suffering from limited mobility.
This is a form of pants that are worn while the patient is seated. It comes with a cloth cover that overlaps, which covers the area of the buttock, which allows for easier access to this area.
This can be very helpful for caregivers of a stroke patient or wheelchair users that have bowel or urinary incontinence.
The pants secure easily with fasteners at either the backside of the waist or on the side. Since they are relatively simple to detach, these pants provide a way for a fast change.
They are also loose enough for incontinence aids like fecal or urinary collector bags, allowing the caregiver or nurse to remove them discreetly.
What Are The Most Helpful Types of Adaptive Clothing for Hemiplegia?
Certain patients with hemiplegia will have issues with apraxia (the order of everyday actions). This means that they have forgotten the order and how they should be putting on their clothes. Putting garments in the right order often helps them immensely.
When dressing, it is suggested to start the process on the side that is paralyzed. When it comes to undressing, start on the healthy side. This means bringing the item of clothing across the side that is healthy. This helps to prevent twisting a paralyzed arm or damaging the shoulder.
Here are a few suggestions helpful suggestions for adaptive clothing for hemiplegia:
Choose bras that come with a closure that is magnetic along the front.
Shirts or cardigans with magnetic closures or buttons are easier to work with for a stroke victim. The magnets or Velcro should be closed before putting the items of clothing in a washing machine.
Pants with elastic waistbands make it easier for stroke patients to use the toilet. There are also many fashionable elastic waistband trousers made for men, women, and children.
Shoes with special fasteners like Zubits or elastic shoelaces or Velcro are much easier to put on or take off for people that have suffered from a stroke. Trainers from a company such as Friendly Shoes are simple to take off and put on one-handed due to the easy-to-handle and long zip.
This is the perfect solution for patients with hemiplegia. Many of them also look stylish and very fashionable.
Where To Buy Adaptive Clothing For Stroke Victims?
Today there are many retailers and brands that sell adaptive clothing for people with disabilities. Some of the most popular and well-known brands include:
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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 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 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.
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 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 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:
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.
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!
Buck and Buck and Silverts are also popular brands that offer catalogs that recommend adaptive clothing options for stroke victims. Silvert’s also offers dressing tips that customers can use when choosing items from their adaptive-clothing line.
Can You Make Your Own Clothes For People Who Have Had A Stroke?
If you would like to make clothing for a person that has had a stroke, it is important to consider a design that will be easy for the person to get over their head or put on. Think about clothing types that are looser with elastic waistbands and wider neck openings.
Clothes that go over a person’s head, like a sweater or t-shirts, are often harder for stroke patients to manage. Adding zippers to your homemade clothes are also much easier to use when compared to buttons.
How Can You Modify Existing Clothing to Be Easier for Stroke Victims?
It is often a difficult task for a stroke victim to button a shirt, pull-on garments, or tie their shoes. To modify existing clothing items, think about adding a zipper to the front of a robe or dress or replacing buttons or laces with Velcro closures.
You can also modify pants so that they open from the side. You may also want to invest in accessories that can help to improve cleanliness and safety, such as arm protectors, protective bibs, and non-skid socks.
Does Medicare Or Medicaid Pay For Adaptive Clothing For Strokes?
Unfortunately, if you have suffered a stroke, Medicaid or Medicare will not cover the costs for adaptive clothing.