Living with Parkinson's: Clothing Tips and Recommendations
Parkinson's Awareness Week is an annual event that aims to increase understanding of and raise awareness about Parkinson's disease, a chronic and progressive movement disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. This year, Parkinson's Awareness Week takes place from April 10-16; it's a time to educate ourselves and others about this condition, its symptoms, and how it impacts the lives of so many who have it.
One aspect of living with Parkinson's that can be particularly challenging is getting dressed. Along with tremors, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination, Parkinson's can also affect daily activities like putting on clothes. But by adapting our clothing choices, we can make dressing easier and more comfortable, and make living with Parkinson’s more manageable.
Here are some tips to consider when getting dressed:
- Avoid clothes with small buttons or zippers: These can be difficult to manipulate for people living with Parkinson's; instead, consider clothing with large buttons and zippers, snaps, or Velcro. Similarly, replace shoes with laces with slip-ons or sneakers that can easily slide on.
- Choose comfortable fabrics: Clothing that is too tight or constricting can be uncomfortable for people with Parkinson's. Opt for stretchy, soft fabrics that don't restrict movement or cause irritation.
- Prioritize function over fashion: While it's important to feel good about the way you look, it's even more important to prioritize comfort and ease of movement when choosing clothing. Look for simple, easy-to-wear pieces that you can put on and take off quickly and easily. There are some great options out there that provide the best of both worlds: functionality and fashion.
- Layer-up: Parkinson's can cause changes in body temperature regulation; so, dress with layers that can be easily removed or added as needed.
- Keep it simple: Avoid clothing with too many embellishments, patterns, or complicated designs. Simple, solid colored clothing is generally easier to put on and take off and can help reduce visual distractions.
In terms of specific clothing recommendations, here are some options to consider if you’re living with Parkinson’s:
- Adaptive Clothing: There are many companies that specialize in adaptive clothing designed specifically for people with disabilities or mobility issues, including those who are living with Parkinson’s. These clothing lines typically feature easy-to-use closures, stretchy fabrics, and other features that make dressing easier and more comfortable.
- Magnetic Clothing: Clothing with magnetic closures, such as magnetic-button shirts and jackets, can be a great option for people living with Parkinson's. The magnets eliminate the need for small buttons or clasps, making dressing easier and more efficient.
- Slip-on Shoes: As previously mentioned, slip-on shoes are a great option for people with Parkinson's who struggle with laces. Look for shoes with stretchy uppers or elastic laces that can be easily slipped on and off.
- Elastic Waist Pants: Pants with elastic waistbands are comfortable and easy to pull on and off, making them a great choice for people living with Parkinson's. Elastic waistbands also allow for ease of movement.
- Adaptive Shoes: Shoes with Velcro closures can be a great option for people living with Parkinson's. Velcro closures are easy to use and provide a secure fit without the need for laces or complicated buckles. If you’d rather avoid Velcro, there are some other great adaptive footwear options that use zippers to open up the shoe so you can easily slip your foot in.
Living with Parkinson's disease can present a number of challenges, but adapting your clothing choices can help make daily life a bit easier. By prioritizing comfort and function and choosing clothing with easy-to-use features, you can make getting dressed a more seamless and stress-free experience. Let's use Parkinson's Awareness Week as an opportunity to educate ourselves and others about this condition and to support those who live with it.