By Kaye Swain
When my senior dad reached the end stage of Parkinsons Disease he spent a lot more time in bed. This meant his zippered pants and jeans were not very comfortable for him. In the hunt for adaptive and "comfort clothing" for elderly men that he would like, we finally settled on a few mens full elastic regular pants, blue jeans, and later, soft sweat pants.
Recently, when a friend's mom became one of the more than 500,000 annual stroke victims (per the National Institutes of Health), we did more research to see what clothes options might be available to help her (and other stroke patients), especially if she had limited mobility and had to spend considerable time in a wheelchair during the recovery period after her stroke. After all, it's not much fun to spend weeks in a hospital gown!
I was pleased to find even more great clothing options, including some lovely dresses for seniors - both regular looking and ones that looked like simple dresses but were almost soft, comfy nightgowns. All of the stores offered choices of dresses and tops that opened fully in the back and were easily put on and off, even when the patient is sitting in a wheel chair. That is very handy and helpful for the caregiver as well as being comfortable for the patients!
In addition to the clothing for seniors restricted to wheelchairs being practical, I was delighted to notice a wide variety of choices in patterns and colors. My elderly mom and I both prefer basic colors and shades. She loves navy blues while I am a "basic black" fan, since it goes so well with everything. Perfect for a busy caregiver. But my senior aunt loves bright patterns, as well as soft pinks and blues. I found interesting choices for all of those desires. What a nice mood-lifter for an ill parent, don't you think?
When we are caring for elderly parents at home with a debilitating illness, whether they are recovering stroke patients, in the end stage of Parkinsons Disease, or dealing with some other major health issues, even things that seem minor, like nice looking and comfortable clothing specifically for the elderly, can make such a pleasant difference in all our lives. Especially when they are so helpful for the caregivers as well as the patient. And how great to find we do, indeed, have lots of options available when it comes to adaptive "comfort clothing" for our beloved senior parents.
Kaye Swain is a member of the Sandwich Generation dealing with the issues of caring for the elderly parents and relatives in her family while also babysitting grandchildren. She enjoys writing on those topics at SandwichINK, in order to provide other multigenerational caregivers with useful information, resources and encouragement.