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Shopping for clothing is always difficult to get right. You need to consider comfort, convenience and, of course, the style of what you’re buying. For some there can be the added pressure of considering a condition, like Parkinson's disease, that will influence which options are best.
Why Is Clothing Choice Important With Parkinson’s?
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative condition that directly affects the nervous system. Over time this often leads to a reduction in dopamine levels which influences the neurotransmitter crucial for smooth, coordinated muscle movements. This can complicate the process of getting dressed and how comfortable some items of clothing are.
Living with Parkinson’s impacts each person differently, but there are some common challenges that people with more advanced Parkinson's may experience. Tremors, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination are just a few of the physical symptoms to consider. Parkinson’s can also have an emotional and cognitive impact that might influence whether or not assistance is needed when dressing.
Important Features For Parkinson’s Disease Clothing
When exploring options for clothing for Parkinson’s, there are a few key considerations that might make outfits more comfortable for those experiencing common symptoms.
Here are some features of Parkinson’s adaptive clothing that can both simplify the dressing process and provide vital comfort in how you choose to show off your style.
Magnet or Velcro-Fastens
Hand rigidity is an extremely common symptom of Parkinson’s with rigidity impacting over 90% of Parkinson’s patients. Avoiding buttons, hooks and zippers can be a great long-term solution.
Fastens that are simplified can have huge benefits for those who find intricate movements and grip difficult. Shirts, dresses and coats can all be designed with magnetic or Velcro fastens to offer a simplified way of dressing.
Velcro-fastenings are typically the better option. Not only are they most often made from soft Velcro to prevent irritation, but magnets can also interfere with medical devices like pacemakers.
Soft velcro is also a good option if a person is unsteady on their feet because it can minimize damage caused by buttons, zippers or belts if there is a likelihood of falling or hitting objects when moving around.
Front Closure Bras
Front closing bras with comfortable designs are ideal for those with dexterity challenges.
Parkinson’s patients can experience tremors and stiffness which make back fastening hook and eye bras almost impossible. Not only can this make for a frustrating and time-consuming dressing experience but it can also mean a loss of independence.
To avoid the strain of reaching behind to fasten a bra, we recommend front-fastening options, and, if possible, front adjusting straps too.
Our Recommendation: Springrose Adaptive Bra
Our recommendation for those with Parkinson’s is the Springrose Adaptive bra. Not only is this option front-fastening with an additional O-ring for better grip, it’s also incredibly soft and it looks great.
The soft Velcro makes it a comfortable and convenient option, and it’s possible to put this bra on in many ways, including one-handed.
Loose Elastic Waist Pants
Those with Parkinson’s might want to consider elasticated or loose legged pants to make the process of dressing more simple. Stiff muscles and rigid movements can make dressing more difficult and finding clothing that can stretch and adjust around your movements is important.
Where possible, try to find pants that are easy to put on when sitting. Wider legs and loose ankles will make this process easier. There are also pants with strategic zipper placements for easy dressing and undressing.
Coordinated Sets For Different Temperatures
Pre-planning outfits for a variety of temperatures and formalities can help to better organize the dressing routine and put less strain on those facing the cognitive and physical challenges of Parkinson’s. It can also help those caring for people with Parkinson’s to quickly choose outfits that are comfortable and convenient.
Try to create an outfit for extremely warm weather and cool weather as well as some day-to-day options. Consider layers and how these might be more or less comfortable. You might also want to think about how easy these items are to put on and take off and how they might impact things like medical appointments and access for any regular tests.
Shoes And Slipper With Sturdy Soles
Sturdy shoes or supported slippers are an essential for those who regularly “freeze” due to Parkison’s. When this happens there is a reliance on balance and steadiness in standing, so it’s important that they are comfortable and offer sufficient support.
While sturdy soles are important, try not to buy shoes that are too heavy because this can impact movement.
For slippers, lightweight slipper boots or options with velcro straps offer the right balance of comfort and support.
For shoes, try to avoid options that slip on and off too easily. They may not provide enough support when moving around. Where laces are a challenge consider velcro fastens or magnetic laces as alternatives.
Dark Colors Or Patterns
If tremors are a regular occurance, and they often make eating and drinking more complicated, it might be wise to consider clothing in darker colors or patterns. This can help to disguise spills or stains and make day-to-day activities less of a worry.
Patterns don’t always have to be dark. Try to choose options that really highlight your style and appeal to your tastes.
Buying Clothing For Parkinson’s Patients As A Gift
If you’re looking into gifts for a loved one, there are plenty of options to choose from. Gifts for Parkinson’s patients can cover a huge variety of interests, but it can be nice to get practical clothing that really reflects a loved one’s style and personality.
It can sometimes feel intimidating to shop for clothing for a loved one, so a good option might be gift cards if you decide to veer away from more traditional gifts like flowers or chocolates.