Keeping warm is essential as we get older, and with lowered mobility it can often be hard to layer up multiple jumpers and coats.
My grandma always put her housecoat on in the morning if she ever had to talk to the postman, go out to get her milk bottles (yes, she still had them delivered) or anything else that she did before getting fully dressed for the day – and then she used to wear it as an extra layer, too!
Athough they seemed to be more common a couple of decades ago, housecoats are clothing items that are made especially to keep the elderly warm, and they can be worn over any clothing, day or night. Housecoats are still really useful, make an excellent gift, and are usually much appreciated. It’s usually women who wear them.
If you’re unsure of where to find a housecoat for yourself or an elderly relative, I’ve put together the best shops to buy them from in the UK (online, because they’re scarce on the high street) and also answered some commonly asked questions too!
The Able Label
The Able Label is a relatively unknown shop as they’re a new clothing retailer, but I really love them as they make clothes specifically for those with dressing difficulties.
Their clothing often has adapted designs and hidden extras. The founder began the brand when she noticed how her grandmother with Parkinson’s struggled to dress herself. She then made it her mission to create clothes that are stylish and the elderly love to wear, whilst also promoting independence and self-confidence.
Something that an older person may like about this shop is that they still offer catalogues! It can be difficult for the elderly to shop online or go all the way to a specialist shop, so if they want to choose a housecoat for themselves then this may be a great option. I used to sit with my grandma and go through catalogues for fun, even if we didn’t buy anything!
I like this particular housecoat because it’s made from a soft fleece fabric that will keep the wearer warm and comfortable. It’s long sleeved, has hidden pockets for keeping any belongings close to hand and has embroidered appliqué across the chest and cuffs and pockets.
It’s also great for those who have poor mobility in their hands and fingers as it’s fastened by strips of velcro down the front, but it has stylish buttons for show too. It’s around 45” (114cm) long so will cover the majority of the body for extra warmth, it also comes in 4 sizes from S-XL and is machine washable at 40°, making it easy to throw in with the rest of your clothes. Plus, it comes in blue too!
- Clothes are made specifically for those with dressing difficulties
- Soft fleece fabric
- Stylish appliqué across the chest, cuffs and pockets
- Velcro fastening
- Machine washable at 40°
- 4 sizes
- 45” long – knee length (or thereabouts)
- “Buy and Try” policy – free returns if it’s not suitable
- Only comes in the two colour options shown above, which may not be to everyone’s taste
- Can’t be tumble dried
SilkandMore (Via Etsy)
This etsy store, called SilkandMore, is run by a woman who makes handmade bridesmaid’s robes, kaftans, hospital gowns and even has a whole section dedicated to elderly apparel, which includes housecoats and pyjamas.
She has really taken into account all the needs of an elderly person, from limited movement to actually making the wearer feel good in the garment, something that a lot of elderly clothing doesn’t do. Another thing that I love about her store is that she makes wheelchair-friendly housecoats that provide extra coverage in the lap area, so that nothing is revealed when sitting down.
Another great thing about this store is how inclusive the sizing is, the housecoats don’t just come in standard sizes, they come in S-3XL and also have a different height option for each size, for example you can get a medium for 5-5”3, or a medium for 5”8 and above!
The housecoats come in a range of colours and styles, all of which are easy to get on and off, you can choose between a zip front, or buttons that don’t actually need to be undone in order to put on.
They’re all made from extremely soft cotton that’s light-weight and drapes nicely in order to provide adequate coverage. There is also an option to provide extra coverage for women who have had surgeries such as mastectomies, at an additional charge.
Each one also has pockets, which are perfect for those who have difficulties walking and use a cane, as they allow you to keep things that you need close to hand.
This is someone who has put a lot of thought into their housecoats and it’s always nice to give business to independent clothes makers too.
- Wheelchair friendly housecoats
- Inclusive sizing
- Range of colours and styles
- Can choose between buttons or zip-front
- Made from soft cotton
- Option for extra coverage for those who have had surgeries
- Custom alterations are available, just contact the seller
- Shipping time varies, but this can be expected with handmade to order items, just contact the seller to find out how long dispatch takes
Amazon (In Particular Slenderella)
Amazon has a great range of housecoats for the elderly, suitable for all budgets and styles. In particular, Slenderella is a high-quality seller as they’re a long established, family-run manufacturer based in Derbyshire.
This waffle fleece housecoat is soft and cosy, with long sleeves and is surprisingly lightweight, so it won’t make it difficult for an elderly person to get around. At 52” (132cm) long it hangs just above the ankles so it’ll keep your whole body warm.
It is fastened with 6 large buttons that are easy to use due to their size, so will still be suitable for those with arthritis or low mobility. It also has 2 concealed pockets and a collar, which makes it more stylish. It also comes in 5 different colour options and the sizes range from a UK 10-12 (small), up to a UK 28-30 (XXXL). It’s machine washable at 40° too!
- Made from super soft and warm waffle fleece
- Ankle length at 52”
- 6 large, easy to use buttons
- Machine washable
- Sizes from S-XXXL
- 5 colour options
- Reviewers have praised how well this housecoat keeps them warm!
- Some reviewers have commented that the sizing runs small and have advised other buyers to size up
What’s The Difference Between A Housecoat And A Dressing Gown?
A housecoat is a garment designed to be worn around the house and are often very useful for the elderly who feel the cold as they keep them warm, but look stylish enough to be worn during the day.
Housecoats originated in the 1930s and were marketed towards housewives as they would protect their clothing when they were doing day-to-day chores and once they were done, they could take it off and their clothing would still be clean. Today, they’re more about keeping the wearer warm.
Housecoats, bathrobes and dressing gowns are often confused with one another, but there are some clear differences to distinguish between them.
- Although they have a somewhat similar style, bathrobes are designed to be absorbent as they are worn as soon as you get out of the bath or shower.
- Dressing gowns are generally constructed of thinner material and are made to cover your nightwear when you get out of bed.
- However, housecoats are worn in place of a jumper or cardigan and are often better at keeping the wearer warm as they are much longer. They can also be worn throughout the day, over both daywear and nightwear.
What’s The Ideal Room Temperature For The Elderly?
As we age, we find it harder to stay warm due to decreased circulation and the thinning of the fat layer under our skin that helps to keep us warm. This means that colder temperatures can often be extremely dangerous to the elderly as they increase the likelihood and severity of flu and respiratory problems, as well as putting them at greater risks of heart attacks and strokes.
It’s also important to note that conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia mean that elderly people may not even realise that their body temperature has dropped! This means that it’s extremely important to ensure that our elderly relatives are staying warm throughout the year, but especially during the winter months.
According to AgeUK, the ideal room temperature for the elderly is 21°C (70°F) in the living room and a minimum of 18°C (64°F) in the bedroom.
It’s also been said that bathrooms should be kept at around 24°C (75°F), slightly warmer due to the fact that we take our clothes off to bathe and are susceptible to being cold afterwards. Although extra layers, such as a housecoat, can help to keep the elderly warm, there’s only so much they can do if the room temperature is cold.
After reading this article, I hope that you’ve found all the information that you’re looking for! If you’re concerned about the health of an elderly relative, contact your GP, or go to a charity such as AgeUK for advice.