Shopping for Senior Clothing
We get many questions here at Alium about what to look for when shopping for elderly clothing. The aging body can cause standard off-the-rack clothing options to become difficult for seniors and caregivers to manage. Seniors may experience more difficulty with small fasteners or may require a caregiver to provide assistance putting on clothing in the morning or taking it off at night. If you are looking for a gift for a senior in your life or are put in charge of wardrobe updates, here are some things to pay attention to when you are searching for clothing options for the elderly.
It's not uncommon for seniors to complain of being cold even when it's warm out. Blood circulation and subcutaneous fat reserves both decrease with age, bringing increased opportunities to feel chilly. Look for fabrics with loft that can trap warm body heat close to the skin. Blended textiles, such as polyester/cotton or polyester/rayon not only increase the durability of the garments but are now being woven into extremely soft textiles that can regulate body temperature better. Don't be afraid of polyester! It has come a long way since the 1970's!
You've probably heard about how small buttons increasingly become a challenge as people age. Heck, they are often a pain for those with young eyes and fingers. Luckily there are new products on the market that eliminate the need for small buttons. One of my favorite Adaptive Clothing companies out there is MagnaReady. They make this glorious magnetic-front shirt for men. Underarmour is also innovating in a way to make senior dressing easier with this jacket with modified zipper. The magnets at the zipper base that help align the teeth without much effort. And Alium is using an innovative new textile on many of its products that sticks like Velcro without the sharp, scratchy feeling or the noise when it is ripped apart.
Tags and Seams
Skin typically thins with age, making it more prone to injury. When shopping for senior clothes, look into the interiors of the garment. Snip out any clothing tags that might have sharp edges. If possible, look for flat seams that have become standard in athletic wear. Flat seams have no seam allowance (extra fabric) on the interiors that can put uneven pressure on the skin during long periods of sitting or lying in one position. Minimizing skin damage, and thus infection, is extremely important for the wellbeing of seniors.
Perhaps you've noticed a senior in your care struggling to put on clothing over their head. Perhaps her arms no longer can rise above her shoulders without difficulty or pain. It's not unusual for shoulder joints to become stiff and loose range of motion in later years. Look for front-opening garments with wider armholes like Alium's Wrap Top. Additionally, Buck and Buck makes tops with back openings that can also assist with shoulder immobility.
Have fun shopping and please comment below on other resources you've found that make shopping for seniors easier!