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Undercare Partners With Wartburg to Test Adaptive Garments for People With Limited Mobility

In another successful collaboration facilitated by the Westchester Innovation Network (WIN), Undercare, a manufacturer of adaptive underwear for people with limited mobility, will test its products with Meadowview at Wartburg, an assisted-living facility in New York City’s suburbs.

Undercare undergarments feature an easy-on, easy-off design with hidden Velcro brand closures at the waist and sides. Undercare will provide men’s and women’s undergarments to be worn by Wartburg’s residents or patients who have agreed to participate in the test.

Undercare’s founder Susanne Leary Shoemaker said her goal is to receive feedback from users about the products’ ease of use and fit. Feedback will be used to determine future iterations and features to add or update on the current line. Undercare will also gauge user and caregiver’s openness to adaptive products.

Undercare’s Wartburg test—which will occur over two weeks this summer—is its first in an institutional setting.

“Regardless of effectiveness, products must be easy to use. In addition to end-users’ acceptance of the products, caregiver and staff acceptance is equally important,” said Shoemaker, an artist, teacher and designer based in Mount Vernon, N.Y.  “The idea is to make dressing quicker and easier for all involved. Lightening the load of caregivers is an important consideration.”

As Baby Boomers age, the need for adaptive garments will more than double. According to Stratview Research, the adaptive clothing market will increase from $2.1 billion in 2021 to $5.7 billion in 2028.

Meadowview at Wartburg is an 88-unit assisted-living complex located on Wartburg’s 34-acre campus in Mount Vernon, N.Y. that includes independent living, skilled nursing, respite care, adult day care and memory care, among other services.

Wartburg’s president and CEO, David J. Gentner, Ed.D. said Undercare’s products will benefit Meadowview’s patients and residents who struggle with dressing themselves.

“When somebody is willing to explore innovation—even with basic dressing—it’s exciting,” said Dr. Gentner. “By participating in this test, we can make a difference in the lives of some of our residents by helping them gain a greater sense of independence that comes with putting on their own undergarments.”

The product test was facilitated by the Westchester Innovation Network (WIN), an initiative of the Business Council of Westchester, whose goal is driving economic development, innovation, and growth in Westchester County. The Undercare-Wartburg collaboration is one of more than a dozen innovator matches facilitated by WIN in 2023.

“As Undercare illustrates, innovation comes in many forms,” said Dr. Marsha Gordon, BCW president and CEO. “We are committed to helping innovators in all sectors find collaborators among our members, with the ultimate goal of persuading these innovators to remain in Westchester County as they scale up their businesses.”

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