How should our clothes fit as we age? Can we still have swag when our body starts to demand certain accommodations? An elderly person may still appreciate style, but find it is hard to keep up. Not that I am recommending skinny jeans for anyone at any age, but have you ever thought about why your Aunt Vergie wears a dress every day.
I personally have to buy my pants a size larger in the waist in order to accommodate my prosthetic leg. I’m not going to mention the actual size, nor do I wish to discuss the other reasons I have had to increase my pant size. My point is that the clothes you choose to wear can help you to be able to live better in them.
Here are a few recommendations from my years of nursing experience…
It is common for persons who are elderly to get cold easily. To help I recommend wearing layers. Materials that are soft underneath and materials with some structure which will resist the elements on the outside. It is also important to avoid clothing that will restrict circulation.
Arthritis or other disabilities impacting dexterity make it difficult to manage zippers and buttons. I remember my grandfather taking his jackets and removing buttons and replacing them with velcro stitched into the material. This allowed him to wear clothes with style without the difficulty of putting them on and taking them off.
What if you had a colostomy pouch. Suspenders on a larger waisted pant would allow it to function without getting bound up or disconnected due to constriction at the waist. Women may chose to wear a dress, or a high waisted pant that will ride above the pouch.
What if you have back pain. Clothes that are too tight or clothes that have elastic in the waist can press on your hip or spine. Bulky clothing can cause postural problems when sitting or lying down. Be careful to remove old garments and undergarments from your wardrobe if they are causing you problems. Focus on wearing things that match your body structure that will support your posture and allow you to move without causing pain or restriction.
What if you have urgency with urination. Ease in the bathroom may begin to make decisions about what clothing you wear. An elastic waist-band can reduce time required in the bathroom. Be sure your unmentionables are easy to manage also. Darker colors will more easily hide any notice of an accident and would also be something I would recommended when going out in public.
Maybe you have dialysis three days a week and need to be able to expose your fistula or a dialysis port. If you have a port it may be important to wear a shirt that buttons up in the front. If you have a fistula then your arm will need to be exposed without pushing up the sleeve and constricting your blood flow. Usually a sweater or light jacket that you can pull one arm out of with a short sleeve shirt underneath would be appropriate.
If your clothes fit right, you should hardly notice them as you go about your day. Of course, it is nice from time to time when you get a compliment on the color of a shirt or maybe the style of your shoes. Those things can still happen. Medical complications or age shouldn’t keep you from putting on something nice.