By Jane Vock
Caregivers are in the know. They know what problems need to be solved. They know what would be helpful to them as a caregiver and the person they are caring for. Meet Wendy, one of these caring family members/caregivers. Wendy not only knew what her Aunt June needed, she had the drive to make it happen for caregivers and for people with the same needs as her Aunt June. Read on to learn more about the inspiration behind Wendy starting a fashionable adaptive clothing business in Canada.
Wendy and June
Wendy was 17 years old when June, a close aunt, was in a car accident and became quadriplegic. Buying clothes for her beloved Aunt June was Wendy’s way of helping. She wanted to, in her words, “help bring her back a tiny bit of joy and dignity through beautiful clothes”. The problem at the time was that the clothing June needed- clothing with specific closures that would allow caregivers to dress her which also matched June’s fashion style- was difficult to find.
Fast forward to some years later when Wendy met her partner and her partner’s mother, who was living with multiple sclerosis. By this time, there was what is called “adaptive clothing” available. I will take a break in the story to fill you in about adaptive clothing.
What is adaptive clothing?
Adaptive clothing is designed to enable someone with physical limitations or mobility issues to get dressed more easily, either independently, or with the help from a caregiver.
As a caregiver, being able to dress and undress the person you are caring for with ease is something that can help prevent injury, allows the person to feel more comfortable, and can make your day run a whole lot smoother. Ease of use isn’t the only benefit of adaptive clothing. Consideration in the design is also given to:
- Avoid pressure points
- Help with weight-bearing lifts or transfers (for example: pants with built-in handles for a caregiver to use when completing transfers)
- Adjustability, to fit a range of needs
- Durable, non-irritating materials
The description ‘adaptive clothing’ sounds so functional. Not sexy. Not even fashionable. And when you think of special clothing, you think expensive. All of this brings us back to Wendy’s story.
Wendy’s story continued
At the time Wendy was shopping for her partner’s mother, there were very few adaptive clothing companies, and most of them were based in the U.S. With high shipping costs and limited return policies, this clothing wasn’t accessible to many Canadians. Wendy decided to solve this problem. She took her fashion industry knowledge as a professional buyer, wed it with her passion to help families going through similar struggles, and created June Adaptive.
Meet June Adaptive
June Adaptive is a one-stop-shop experience, with a range of clothing options. What I especially love about this adaptive clothing is that it is affordable and accessible. There is free shipping with orders $180 and over.
The story gets better. This adaptive clothing isn’t functional at the expense of style. To this end, Wendy refers to the importance of universal design. This is how Wendy puts it: “It is a beautiful shirt, or a beautiful shoe, first. The bonus is that there is a zipper which makes it easier to put on and off.” This is fantastic because it is equally important that the person wearing the clothing feels good about the clothing they are wearing. Being able to shop virtually allows the person to view the clothing options they would enjoy wearing.
Most people don’t give much thought to how to get their bodies into the clothes they wear. But, when you’re a caregiver trying to assist the person in your care get dressed, the challenges become obvious. Think about trying to help dress an aging parent, someone with limited mobility, or someone experiencing pain and you’ll quickly realize the benefits of adaptive clothing. I have an older brother who has mobility and pain issues and a gift certificate from June Adaptive is definitely coming his way.
The following testimonials show how Wendy has really ‘hit the mark’ for caregivers and their loved ones:
“This idea is genius. My mother now uses wheelchairs and all these medical devices are completely new to us. June Adaptive is a fun addition to this new world”
“I get a lot of compliments on my June Adaptive pieces. They are comfortable and easy to wear”
“I have a family member that got in an accident a few years back. I wish June adaptive existed back then”
“I truly believe [June Adaptive] is building something that will change the lives of so many people”
“[June Adaptive] is a great concept and are filling a need in the market”