Carers: Assisted Dressing Guide
For family members and carers, helping a person to get dressed each day can enable them to maintain confidence whilst providing a way to express their unique personality. Adaptive clothing can further ease the process of self or assisted dressing and encourage the opportunity for independent dressing where possible.
Our carers assisted dressing ranges for both women and men feature discrete adaptations, to provide style without the struggle and to make getting dressed an overall positive experience.
Here are some of our top tips for easier assisted dressing for carers and family members supporting loved ones:
Loose Fitting Shapes
Sleeveless and loose fitting styles make dressing into much easier, especially for the role of a carer. Relaxed fitting clothing can help the person you are caring for, to feel comfortable all day and not restricted.
Wide opening sleeves such as raglan sleeves are much easier for dressing arms into if stiffness and rigidity is experienced. For night-time dressing, nightshirts and nightdresses avoid the struggle of trousers and provide easy movement, making getting ready for bed that bit more relaxing.
Womenswear - Lilly Luxury Velcro Cape
Front Opening Velcro Designs
Overhead dressing can be time consuming and uncomfortable as well as upsetting for the person you are assisting. Opt for fully front opening options, such as cardigans, shirts, nightwear and front fastening bras to provide a perfect solution. The person being dressed can then see everything which is going on and helps to prevent anxiety.
Substitute tricky fastenings such as buttons and zips for adaptive alternatives such as Velcro. This can give the opportunity for the person to be involved in dressing and maintain as much independence as possible. The Able Label offers a vast range of front opening designs with secure Velcro fastenings designed to open and close with ease, suitable for reduced dexterity and strength.
Short sleeve styles are often a preferred option, as for many long sleeve styles can be difficult to dress arms into. For comfortable layering, short sleeve styles provide ease of movement and a more casual feel.
Dressing into bras can prove particularly tricky, as they traditionally fasten at the back with fiddly hook and eye fastenings. Front opening options with either Velcro or popper can make doing up a bra a lot easier with just touch close required.
Menswear - Henry Short Sleeve Velcro Casual Check Shirt
Back Opening Designs
Leaf shaped back opening designs can be easier for a caregiver to dress someone into with it being easier to get arms into clothes forwards than it is backwards or either side. With the appearance of a normal garment, designs feature an opening at the back. Look out for options with no fastenings to avoid any pressure points on the persons back, whilst overlapping fabric can help to maintain coverage.
Womenswear - Jade Floral Open Back Short Sleeve Nightdress
Comfortable Stretch Fabrics
For greater comfort and well-being, choose fabrics which move with the body rather than against it. Super stretch fabrics including jerseys, and viscose with elastane, help make getting in and out of clothes much easier. Stretchy fabrics also give greater ease and comfort of movement all day.
To keep feet happy and to avoid swelling, choose gentle gripping socks made from wool or bamboo for a soft comfortable fit that is also suitable for diabetics.
Easy Care Fabrics
Non-iron and no crease options can make looking after clothes a lot easier too. They will often contain some synthetic fibres in order to be more easy-care, so look out for mixes such as poly-cottons that give you the best of both worlds, being easy-care and comfortable. Easy-care fabrics can also be washed at higher temperatures, making them more suitable for care homes.
We do however recommend washing clothes at 40 degrees with all fastenings closed in order for the clothes to maintain their quality.
Womenswear - Camilla Seersucker Half Sleeve Velcro Shirts
Menswear - Men’s Hugo Oxford Velcro Non-Iron Shirt
Help at Mealtimes
Mealtimes may become messier and eating out, especially in crowded restaurants, can cause anxiety. Struggling and being forced to wear bibs can lead to the person feeling a loss of dignity. The Able Label Pashminas are not only practical protecting clothes and keeping skin dry but look stylish, like part of your clothing.
Wheelchair User Friendly Clothing
For those using a wheelchair, longer length and maxi styles can help to provide all day coverage, comfort and warmth when seated. Maxi skirts for women in a wrap over style ensure legs keep covered when out and about. Select soft and breathable fabrics such as cotton and jerseys for all day comfort.
Trouser styles are made easier to dress into with discrete adaptations, including Velcro touch close fly and concealed zips at the bottom of hems for a wider foot opening. Elasticated fabrics and waistbands provide added room to dress into and comfort whilst wearing.
Menswear - Men's Velcro Fly Trousers
Familiar styles can make people feel more comfortable. Buy multiples of the same style that are easy to mix and match. The Able Label bundle offers can help to save money and time shopping, whilst building an easy to dress staple adaptive wardrobe.
Womenswear - All Women's Bundle Offers
Menswear - All Men's Bundle Offers
Washable Incontinence Underwear
Incontinence underwear can provide added reassurance during the day and night between toileting. Washable and reusable options are available for both men and women in various absorbencies to provide extra protection as required.
Womenswear - Women's absorbent knickers
Menswear - Men's washable incontinence underwear
Extra Tips For Easy Dressing to Stay Independent
- Daily dressing can be an enjoyable experience, keep it positive for you and the person you are caring for considering the surroundings. Ensure the room is warm enough, light enough and that curtains are drawn if needed.
- Dressing seated or with the support of a rail or handle makes dressing safer and also encourages more independent dressing.
- Lay outfits out on a plain background and ensure they aren't inside out with all fastenings undone. Arrange the items in the order the person would put the items on to encourage independent dressing if the person you are caring for is able.
- Selecting outfits together each day is one small but important personal choice but to reduce the change of confusion or feelings of being overwhelmed for anyone with cognitive difficulties, reduce the number of options to just a couple.
- Allow enough time for dressing each day to make the experience more comfortable and relaxing for everyone involved.
- It's really important to change clothes regularly, especially if they’re dirty. This can be more challenging for someone living with cognitive difficulties being resistant or reluctant to get changed. In this situation, try to swap the items out for fresh ones when possible, or let them know you’d love to see them wearing something smart and clean.
- Wash Velcro adapted garments with fastenings closed to maintain strength and to avoid Velcro damage.