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Old 06.02.2016, 09:14
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swimwear/bathing suit - design for injured hands?

Well, I've done a fair amount of online research, but still can't seem to find a practical design.


We're looking for a swimsuit / swimming costume that can very easily be put on and taken off by a female swimmer, both of whose hands are weak (very little grip, great pain) as a result of injuries.


Nearly all sorts of fasteners are very, very difficult to use, even on dry street clothing. A swimsuit is clingy even when dry, when wet much more so, and besides, after moving in the water for a while, those weak hands are so much more weary and even less able to grip. It is then problematic to pull the top part off the shoulders, and depending on the type of garment either down the front of the body or up over the head, and problematic to pull the pants part down.


Of course there's the variation of having an assistant to help with undressing, but that has the disadvantages of cost and of being dependent.


The swimsuit should cover her body as much as a full one-piece swimsuit (or maybe with shorts), but would, I expect, need to be made up of several parts, something like a tankini. I'm fairly sure it would involve unusual systems of fasteners that are chunky, perhaps seams that aren't at the regular places... but we haven't solved this one yet.


Given the uninterrupted pain, it would represent a significant improvement in quality of life if she could go bathing easily. We'd be most grateful for any links or anyone's practical design suggestions, either for the cut or for kinds of fasteners or perhaps a gadget which she could use to help get herself undressed. Thank you very much.
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Old 06.02.2016, 09:33
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Re: swimwear/bathing suit - design for injured hands?

Haha this was on one of the french shopping channels this morning ..

I could't be bothered reaching for the remote control and watched the whole info commercial .. Thinking why the hell am i watching this crap.



http://www.stepin2now.com/the-swimsuit/
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Old 06.02.2016, 09:34
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Re: swimwear/bathing suit - design for injured hands?

Surfer Wear.

http://www.roxy.ch/damen-schwimmshorts/
plus a Tankini top with a Zipper (you may have to add your own).
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Old 06.02.2016, 09:48
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Re: swimwear/bathing suit - design for injured hands?

swimdressboutique is my fav brand if she needs a curvy size
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Old 06.02.2016, 09:55
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Re: swimwear/bathing suit - design for injured hands?

Landsend (.de and .co.uk) carries a wide variety of tankini type suits, some not so clingy, that might suit. These are not specifically designed for arthritis sufferers, but many older ladies I know wear them:

http://www.landsend.de/de_DE/Damen/B...cm_re=damen-bm

Delivery from the German site to Switzerland in about a week or so.

The main U.S. site (Landsend.com) carries an even larger selection, but delivery is more costly and takes 2-4 weeks. I find it often worthwhile to look at both .de and .co.uk, as sometimes one site will have better prices/sales offers than the other.
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Old 06.02.2016, 10:10
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Re: swimwear/bathing suit - design for injured hands?

Thanks for these suggestions.
For all the regular swimsuits shown, the problem remains: she can get them on only with great difficulty, and cannot grab them to pull them off once wet. Her hands just can't do the gripping movement of clasping something tight between fingertips and thumb. Adding a zip won't do it, either, unfortunately, because she can't grip the zip to pull it.

Yes, Stepin2now is innovative, and was designed, as I understand it, for a woman with limited shoulder mobility, for whom it is an excellent solution. However, this very clever idea (well worth watching the video in the link supplied by John H above) is unsuitable for a woman with very weak hands, as it would force her to pull the "panties" section of the swimsuit up over, and down over, her bottom not just once but twice.

I keep hoping to discover some new type of fastener, or some other cut, or some system of undressing that may use a clever gadget, or a cord to attach to the big toe and pull off the garment... still hoping... haven't found it yet.
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Old 06.02.2016, 10:28
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Re: swimwear/bathing suit - design for injured hands?

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Adding a zip won't do it, either, unfortunately, because she can't grip the zip to pull it.
Just look how surfer do it. Add a strap to the zipper, best with a loop where you can but your hand and arm through. No need to play with a climsy zipper.
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Old 06.02.2016, 10:31
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Re: swimwear/bathing suit - design for injured hands?

@aSwissInTheUS
sorry, I'm not sure I understand what you mean. If you have the time, could you please post a link/photo/video? Thanks.
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Old 06.02.2016, 10:40
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Re: swimwear/bathing suit - design for injured hands?

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@aSwissInTheUS
sorry, I'm not sure I understand what you mean. If you have the time, could you please post a link/photo/video? Thanks.
Hope the link works:

http://www.roxy.ch/caribbean-sunset-...41&hitcount=44
It is a neoprene body, means even clumsier to take off then a normal bathing suit.
The strap is not formed in a loop. Making a loop in the strap is simple.

Normally only used on back side zippers. But why not attached it to a front side one?
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Old 06.02.2016, 10:41
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Re: swimwear/bathing suit - design for injured hands?

I'm not at all sure there is a 'good' solution to this one. For a swimming costume to do its job, it needs to fit closely and, as you say, they are awful to get off when wet. I more or less have to 'peel it off' by rolling it down and that would be agony with hands hurting.

I've worked with female disabled swimmers without arms and their method was to say 'could you perhaps come and help me get my costume off'? And the guys presumably got a guy to do it. My only job with one fellow was to tie his trunks very tight before a race. Loose trunks meant 10ths of a second lost!

You could get in touch with British Swimming with Disabilities and ask if they have anyone with a similar problems. Looks like Amy Marren has no hands, but at a rough guess she can push her stumps under the straps, whereas the lady you refer too has too much pain to do it.

If you don't feel you can write to strangers, PM me, I can!
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Old 06.02.2016, 10:49
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Re: swimwear/bathing suit - design for injured hands?

Would any of these dressing aids be of help?

My FIL used the zipper and button pulls, found they made a world of difference.

http://www.arthritissupplies.com/but...ping-aids.html

(Just an example, these are made by many companies.)

Also, could she use a reacher? My mother used one to get dressed after hip surgery when she was not allowed to bend. Helpful for pulling bottoms on/off.


ETA:

How about having a swimsuit made to order?

All the major pattern companies make swimsuit patterns - with input as to her needs and a little creativity with the fasteners a talented seamstress (IIRC there are some on EF) might be able to make something appropriate.
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Old 06.02.2016, 10:51
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Re: swimwear/bathing suit - design for injured hands?

Can you put a bead or knot onto a string or ring that she can get between her 'v' shape fingers or into her mouth ?

Maybe something like a large 'chinese button' knot ? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_button_knot

You could easily make these with cord and knots and attach to wherever you think it might be helpful...

I have minor experience with a man who had weakness due to paraplegia and he could not manage zippers, had no pincer grip, but we put a leather string and then a large-ish bead into the zipper and he could manage this.

Otherwise, a swimming buddy, swim group, swim club - even if she just 'trains' alongside but has friends to help out. My husband and kids are in the 'underwater club' in Zurich and they train on Monday in Adliswil, Tuesday and Thursday at Oerlikon pool. It may be easier just to know that there are a couple of people there regularly who know her and they are a great bunch and wouldn't mind helping out...
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Old 06.02.2016, 11:04
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Re: swimwear/bathing suit - design for injured hands?

I've had a look at some of these links. 'Beach Living' says it all for me.
Does the lady want to swim, move freely in the water, or look respectable on the beach?
To me swimming means swimming and any surplus material waving around me in the water prevents that wonderful smooth feeling of the water flowing past the skin. I don't mean that swimming has to be against the clock. It is the wonderful gliding feeling that comes with a good position in the water and even a minumum of propulsive power.
Apart from anything else, if the straps of a costume are loose enough on the shoulders to be easily pulled off, the costume will not be 'decently covering the upper body' for long if the swimmer goes forwards at all!
If you swim crawl with prescription goggles it's surprising what you occasionally see underwater.
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Old 06.02.2016, 11:05
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Re: swimwear/bathing suit - design for injured hands?

Is it just the grasping with fingers that is a problem, or overall arm weakness? The swimwear John H posted would work with a closed fist to get on, but it still looks like taking off might be difficult.

I think she'll need something custom-made/modified to be truly satisfied. What does she currently do for shirts and pants or shorts? Any way to modify those? Of course regular clothes are less nice in water than proper swim fabric, but if the proper fabric is that much harder to use, why bother?

I'm picturing bottoms like meloncollie suggested from Land's End, and a tank or t-shirt that's been modified with velcro...
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Old 06.02.2016, 11:24
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Re: swimwear/bathing suit - design for injured hands?

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Otherwise, a swimming buddy, swim group, swim club - even if she just 'trains' alongside but has friends to help out. My husband and kids are in the 'underwater club' in Zurich and they train on Monday in Adliswil, Tuesday and Thursday at Oerlikon pool. It may be easier just to know that there are a couple of people there regularly who know her and they are a great bunch and wouldn't mind helping out...
I appreciate that it must be difficult to constantly have to ask for help, but as Swisspea says, īt can sometimes work well enough if you get to know other swimmers. (Actually, swimmers, with their very tightly fitting costumes, have to give each other a hand occsionally too!)

In my experience, swimmers with disabilities sometimes have more trouble turning down assistance they don't require and explaining that they can manage themselves very nicely thank-you. One lass, sitting beside me, packed her bag with her feet and then zipped it up holding the zipper between her toes. I must confess, I had to sit on my hands to prevent myself 'helping' her.
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Old 06.02.2016, 12:12
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Re: swimwear/bathing suit - design for injured hands?

Oh, thank you all!
I could scream... I'd just completed a long reply, addressing many of the suggestions, and then accidentally deleted it. Grrrr....
Will re-write later.
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Old 06.02.2016, 12:28
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Re: swimwear/bathing suit - design for injured hands?

I am not a swimmer, I am ashamed to say, but found this...

http://sliponswimsuits.com
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Old 06.02.2016, 12:34
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Re: swimwear/bathing suit - design for injured hands?

I'm not what swimmers call a swimmer either but, yes, I had looked at those and that is what I meant by one of my remarks.
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Old 06.02.2016, 13:35
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Re: swimwear/bathing suit - design for injured hands?

Okay, here goes. I had written my post in the usual friendly way, trying to reply appropriately to the individual suggestions made. I can’t do it again, sorry.

The thing is: this woman is disabled in a number of complex ways which influence each other. She therefore already has a team around her, of medical professionals and lay-helpers, some of which treatment/help paid for by various insurances, yet everyone without exception agrees that the sum of the help is radically insufficient.
Because of this, other more basic needs have to take priority, like working towards getting her regular meals (she cannot chop vegetables), and the help cannot be allocated to the luxury of going to a pool or a lake.

Everyone in the team, and friends, too, are getting worn down trying to find solutions not only for getting her into water, but for zillions of other aspects of daily life which are not being attended to anywhere near adequately. That I accidentally deleted my considered text a few minutes ago seems, at the moment, symbolic of so much effort being put in, but just not ending up rendering what she really needs.

Getting back into the water would do her so much good! Certainly improve her overall fitness and well-being, maybe even ease her pain.

No inhibitions about being seen, she has sufficient self-confidence even though overweight, and she is aiming for practicality.

She used to have no problem with asking strangers for help either, but had several bad experiences when other women in the change-room gasped or simply said “no” once those potential helpers heard that she didn’t need them merely to untwist a shoulder-strap, but would need her swimsuit pulled right down, leaving her naked before them. People in Switzerland are generally agreeably comfortable with their own and other people’s nakedness, but not, it seems in getting involved to actually cause someone to become naked. These situations then left her waiting in a wet swimsuit, in some cases partly undressed, while she tried to judge whom to approach next. The staff of pools, when asked, said that they were not allowed to help.

Staff at the pools also say that non-swimsuit textiles are not permitted because
a) they tend to give off more fibre particles which more quickly clog the filtration systems thereby pushing up the costs of servicing, and
b) surplus fabric that does not fit the swimmer snugly can get sucked into such a filter and pull the swimmer down under the water.

As it is now, several times a week she receives a shower and is dressed in with clothing mostly without fasteners, but voluminous. Loose leggings, no underpants.

Button-hooks, zipper catchers and reachers have all been tried, and require more gripping than her hands can sustain. Even Velcro is difficult. However, as it is her hands and her wrists which are injured, perhaps some loop could be designed for the elbow.

Yes, a custom-made swimsuit is what she needs, but we though several team members have made enquiries, we have been unable to find a designer/seamstress who truly understood that it has to be a “no hands” solution. Maybe we’re explaining it poorly. Besides, just hiring a super designer... is also a question of funding.

Last summer, various team members tried their own home-grown design, based on cutting up some leggings and tops. No really good solution. They improvised and made her a kind of wrap-over waist-jacket something along these lines http://www.glamorous.com/burgundy-wr...irt-dress.html which she tried out in the lake, but the Velcro fasteners proved too much, and even when the front was opened by a friend helping, she could not peel the garment off to pull her arms free from where it was sticking to her back. The shoulder seams had Velcro, and that would have diminished the peeling, but she could not grip the Velcro to part it.

Yes, she could hold a knot or ball between her teeth, and yes, even better between her toes. She does not have the yoga-like agility to, for example, stand on one leg and lift the other foot to waist-level to grab the panties. She could definitely hold and pull a cord or ribbon with her foot or feet. What we can’t see is… the other end of that ribbon, i.e. to what, exactly would it be attached, and how would the pull motion cause the undressing? Or some other kind of fastener? Maybe using something like this… but I also can’t see how, exactly: https://youtu.be/x1_AYZjutro
Or use a gadget or device, though most of those found online are for people whose main problem in dressing is that they cannot reach the ground, rather than that they cannot use their hands.

The bigger difficulty is certainly getting the wet swimsuit off, but she also needs to be able to get the dry swimsuit on.

The video of the “slipon” is very useful, thank you, both because it explains why it would be so beneficial if the woman could participate in such sport, and also because it shows exactly the part she cannot do, at 3:04 to 3:13, neither going on (dry) or off (wet). And 3:18 to 3:22 shows what she would just manage while the suit was dry, but the kind of stretching she would not be able to do in reverse, once the suit were wet. From 5:45 there’s a moment of what she’d need to do to start undressing, and she could not perform this grip action.

Thank you, everyone who has been thinking this through. I’m very grateful, and sorry if I come across as very negative. Yes, thank you, Longbyt, please do go ahead and make enquiries if you have the time and energy. I appreciate that. At this stage, though the [many] need(s) is/are serious, I’m running out of steam.
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Old 06.02.2016, 14:03
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Re: swimwear/bathing suit - design for injured hands?

The problem is, swimwear needs to be fairly tight, or once in the water it creates drag and may also sag or come loose causing an embarrassing situation.

If she can't get off a one-piece, or deal with any fasteners, I don't think there is any other option....

.... apart from a helper. I appreciate that people with disabilities want to be independent, but even Paralympians need help, Para-Triathletes have to be carried from the water and helped with their wetsuits. I think the focus should be on finding someone who can go regularly to the pool with her and help her, rather than finding a swimsuit.

Maybe look into disability swimming/sport associations, I'm not sure what exists in Switzerland. Or maybe just find a volunteer.
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