Our panel looks at a range of clothing and footwear designed to help dressing, without compromising on attractiveness and comfort.
We took specially designed clothes and shoes to Worthing’s Dementia Voice local group for them to try out and review. This longstanding West Sussex group of people living with dementia meets regularly to discuss local and national topics, and to influence our and others’ work.
The clothing and footwear have been produced to be easier for people to put on and take off, including people who have problems with cognition, co-ordination or movement.
The Able Label uses velcro fasteners, often behind decorative buttons, and design clothes to reduce the need to pull them over your head. If you fasten the velcro while clothes are being washed, it should last as long as the clothes do.
We gave clothes to two women from the group in advance of the panel.
Pauline, who tried a ‘Tabatha’ T-shirt in cobalt blue, said, ‘I really like the material, as it feels soft and comfortable.’
She suggested that more closely arranged velcro pads could give a more precise fit, but said, ‘The fit is good and has room for movement.’
Chris, a dressmaker, also liked the ‘Maisy’ lightweight mac she’d tried beforehand.
‘It’s beautifully made,’ she said, and she liked its soft finish. ‘That’s very wearable.’
‘I don’t think it’s expensive for what it is,’ added Chris, ‘and it would last long.’
Looking at the ‘Janet’ nightdress, made from jersey cotton and opening at the front, Chris said, ‘It’s nice and warm. Absolutely perfect for the winter, lovely material.
‘And it’s my favourite blue – I love it!’
Steve loved the shirts. ‘I like that it looks like you’ve got buttons, brilliant idea,’ he said. ‘It would help a lot of people, and they look good as well, don’t they?’
Emery added, ‘I like the check – it makes me feel like I’m on safari!’
John particularly liked how comfortable and warm the ‘James’ felt, though he could feel the top velcro fastener against his chin when he put his head down.
Dave tried on the men’s cardigan, saying, ‘It feels nice, lovely and light as well,’ and David, sitting next to him, approved too.
Stan appreciated the expandable waist on the ‘Blake’ grey trousers, adding, ‘My waist tends to expand!’
While ‘Blake’ has only velcro at the fly, the sand-coloured ‘Aubrey’ trousers that John tried has a zip with one velcro pad at the top.
He said he liked these ‘chino type trousers,’ but would prefer a larger toggle on the zip, since this one was a bit too small to get hold of easily.
The group agreed that the clothes were good value for money, given the difference the fastenings would make.
‘Even if you go into Marks, if you get a single shirt, you might end up paying 30 or 40 quid for it,’ said Stan.
Friendly Shoes are designed by an occupational therapist to be easy to get on and off as well as comfortable and safe, with removable memory foam insoles and secure grips.
Trying the Voyage, Stan said, ‘I’ve never gone in for a trainer style, but I like the side zip, that is a great idea. The quality is very good.’
John also thought they were priced reasonably.
‘The shoes I have on now are expensive,’ said John, ‘but I have to use a long shoehorn to put them on. But with these I can just put them on, it’s easy.’
Chris agreed, ‘They’re good value for money.’
Prices (correct at April 2022):
- ‘Maisy’ mac £49.17 plus VAT.
- ‘Tabatha’ T-shirt £30 plus VAT.
- ‘Janet’ nightdress £37.50 plus VAT.
- ‘James’ shirt £43.33 plus VAT.
- ‘Martin’ shirt £40.83 plus VAT.
- ‘Hugh’ short sleeve shirt £37.50 plus VAT.
- Men’s cardi £45.83 plus VAT.
- ‘Aubrey’ trousers £39.17 plus VAT.
- ‘Blake’ smart trousers £45.83 plus VAT.
- Force shoes £59.99 plus VAT.
- Voyage shoes £69.99 plus VAT.
- Excursion shoes from £74.99 plus VAT.
As with some other specially designed products, you don’t have to pay VAT if they’re for use by a person with dementia – tick the box stating that you’re eligible for VAT relief at checkout.
Helpful everyday products
We have a great range of products designed to help people with dementia and their carers to be more comfortable in their homes, while supporting independence and safety.