Everyone has a morning routine, a plan that sets the mood for the day. Most people become so used to the regimen that they carry out tasks on autopilot. However, when living with a rare, neuromuscular disorder such as Friedreich’s ataxia, the routine can become irregular and require additional concentration, effort, and time.
To reduce the amount of energy it takes for me to get ready for work in the morning, I start my routine at night by taking a shower. This way, I can get more sleep in the morning, and I can take my time to make my bed, get dressed, and eat a nutritious breakfast before I leave the house.
I’ve noticed that I get tired more easily and it takes me twice the effort to carry out those three tasks. Sometimes, I become breathless and need to sit and catch my breath before I continue. Getting dressed is the hardest task to complete. So, I’ve been thinking about ways to make dressing easier and decided to look into adaptive clothing.
Following are three adaptive wear brands that I’ve been considering:
1. FreeBelts: A family friend recently sent me information about FreeBelts. She remembered that I’d mentioned to her that I have difficulty wearing a belt. This product is a belt without a buckle. You snap it on without hassle, bulge, or discomfort, and it keeps your pants up while allowing the wearer to breathe comfortably. I intend to look into this product. I hope it will save me time and reduce my frustration with fiddling with belt buckles.
2. Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive: I was introduced to this clothing line when I attended the annual Friedreich’s ataxia symposium hosted by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia a few years ago. Clothing brand Tommy Hilfiger recently partnered with Runway of Dreams, a nonprofit founded by Mindy Scheier, a fashion designer whose son has muscular dystrophy. At the symposium, Mindy shared her inspiring story of how she wanted her son to fit in by being able to dress like the other kids at his school. She created the inclusive clothing line Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive for children and adults with disabilities and brought samples to the symposium for FA patients to try. The items had Velcro or snaps instead of zippers and buttons to make dressing easier. You can’t even tell that these clothes are adaptive because they look the same as mainstream items. It is fashionable clothing that a 28-year-old woman like me can wear.
3. Nike FlyEase and HyperAdapt: The sports brand has created two types of sneakers to help wearers of all ages and abilities to get their shoes on and off more easily. FlyEase provides a flexible and secure fit. These shoes are easy to put on and take off because of the adjustable strap connected to a wraparound zipper. Nike’s HyperAdapt adjusts to your foot and tightens the laces to fit. I could wear these on the way to work, which would help save time getting ready.
These are some suggestions that could make daily life simpler for people living with disabilities. Battling rare diseases can be hard enough as it is, so any way to make things a little less challenging is welcome!
Have you tried any adaptive clothing items? If so, please share in the comments section below.
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