Being able to dress and undress oneself is often taken for granted. However, when you suffer with debilitating conditions such as arthritis, dementia or Parkinson’s, the simple day-to-day task of dressing and undressing can prove a challenge.
These conditions can often make tasks such as buttoning a shirt, putting your socks on or tying a shoelace seem like a monumentous task as well as painful and extremely frustrating.
Fortunately there are a number of dressing aids that are available that can help users who suffer with reduced mobility and dexterity to dress themselves. In this article we will cover some of these invaluable aids which can assist users to dress themselves independently.
The most common type of dressing aid is a dressing stick. If you suffer with limited dexterity and you may have reduced mobility in one arm, a dressing stick is an invaluable aid which can assist with putting on and taking off clothes.
The dressing device provides extra reach and it can be used to help manouvere and position your clothing garments allowing you to dress more easily.
The dressing stick from RMS Deluxe contains a “C” shaped hook on one end which can be used for pulling zippers and undoing shoelace loops. On the other end, there’s a large vinyl coated push and pull hook which assists with pulling pants up, putting shirts on, skirts, or helping to put on shoes or remove socks.
Buttoning and unbuttoning a shirt can often prove a near impossible task especially when you have arthritic hands and you may have reduced grip or finger dexterity.
To help fasten a shirt, a button hook can be used which makes the process of buttoning a shirt much easier especially with small buttons that may be difficult to grasp with painful or inflamed hands.
In order to use a button hook, you slide the wire hook through the shirt’s buttonhole and you then hook it around the button, you finally pull it back through the buttonhole in order to fasten it.
The following button hook comes with a slip-resistant handle which provides better gripping and comfort and allows you to easily do up and undo fiddly buttons with ease.
Elastic shoelaces are a good alternative to regular shoelaces in particular for users who struggle to tie their laces up due to painful hand joints. They are similar to traditional shoelaces, the only difference is they stretch which means you can turn your lace-up shoes into slip-ons which are much easier to put on and take off.
With elastic shoelaces, you simply need to tie your shoelaces once. This avoids having to retie them every time and it also eliminates the need to keep bending down to put your shoes on and off.
Elastic shoelaces are also recommended for users who suffer with regular feet swelling as it eradicates the need of having to regularly readjust your laces in order to stay comfortable.
If you find that you can’t get on with a shoehorn especially as it may require some degree of twisting as well as bending in order to use one, a good alternative is a shoe funnel.
In order to use a shoe funnel, you slide the plastic aid into your shoe, once applied it opens up the shoe so you can slide your foot easily into it without having to struggle to put it on. In order to pull out the shoe funnel out of the shoe, you simply pull on the attached string.
Putting on a shoe can involve lots of bending which is not ideal if you suffer from a painful back and you have limited flexibility and find it a challenge to reach down to put your shoes on.
A long-handled shoehorn can make putting on footwear easier. It provides you with extended reach and it is placed at the back of the shoe and helps the foot ease more easily into the shoe without the need for any awkward bending or having to grip the shoe with your hands.
A shoe remover is a useful aid which allows someone to take off any type of shoe or boot easily without having to bend over making it ideal for anyone who suffers with back or hip pain.
The shoe remover has a u-shaped section in the front which holds the shoe/boot in place which assists the user in order to take their foot out of the footwear. At the other end, there is a footplate where the user places their rear foot on in order to provide stabilisation when taking the shoe/boot off.
The shoe remover from JobSite contains a rubber grip inlay which helps to protect your footwear from getting scrapped or scratched.
Long-Handled Comb and Brush
Rheumatoid arthritis can make the process of having to extend your arm and then twist your shoulders in order to comb your hair, challenging.
The use of a long-handled comb or brush can reduce the effort that is needed to comb and style your hair. The long ergonomically curved handle provides extra reach which means minimal shoulder and arm movement is required when combing your hair therefore alleviating the pressure on your painful joints.
Gripping and pulling small zipper tabs with arthritic hands can often be struggle especially in cold weather when you may have limited sensation in your fingers.
To make things easier, a zipper grip can be applied to clothing or bags which allows for easier gripping and pulling of zips.
They are designed to work on all types of standard zippers and they are quick and easy to fit. In order to fit a Zip-Grip Zipper Pull, simply insert the peg through the hole of your existing zipper and then fold in half and finally press to snap shut.
A sock/stocking aid is a useful and inexpensive device that allows you to put your socks or hosiery on without having to bend down.
In order to use one, open the sock and feed it over the plastic sleeve, next slide your foot into the sock and pull it up over your foot by pulling on the grips which are attached to the rope.
The sock aid from Vive has large foam handles which are easy to grip with arthritic hands and make putting on socks a breeze.
Compression Stocking Aid
If you have a condition that affects your circulation, you may be required to wear compression stockings on a regular basis. While they offer a number of benefits such as helping to maintain blood flow and reducing swelling, they can be extremely difficult to put on especially with arthritic hands.
If you suffer with limited grip and reduced dexterity, an aid that you can use is a compression stocking aid. The dressing aid works in the same way as a sock dressing aid does, the only difference is its more durable and therefore it’s a better suited device for compression socks.
The compression stocking aid from Stockeez is suitable for all sizes of socks, stockings and compression socks open or closed toe. The handle doubles as a shoehorn to help take off socks and the hook on the base can be latched onto a chair for extra stability when using the device.
If you struggle to put your underwear, sweatpants or trousers on when getting dressed, WingPants could be the perfect aid for you.
The self-dressing device has an adjustable width frame which holds your pants open while you slide easily into them, avoiding the need to bend down and eliminating the need for any painful reaching while dressing yourself.
Reaching down to put your trousers on or picking up things from the floor when you have limited mobility can be challenging. A way to extend your reach is to use a grabber reacher.
Not only can a grabber reacher be used to pick up things from the floor, they can also be used to help dress yourself. The grabber from Royal Medical Solutions is fitted with a post to assist with dressing. It also has a magnetic tip that can be used to pick small objects and it’s constructed from lightweight aluminum with an ergonomic handle.
Slippers are great when pottering around the home. Not only are they extremely comfortable and cosy to wear, they are perfect for users who suffer with swollen feet or ankles.
The following Hotme women’s slippers have a large velcro opening which makes them easy to put on and take off without needing assistance. The opening can be adjusted to suit different foot widths. The insole of the slipper is made from high-density memory foam which is very comfortable. They also come with a durable and slip-resistant rubber sole with anti-skid texture which can help to prevent falls.
For the men, the slippers from Secret Slippers contain an adjustable velcro design which are easy to put on and take off and adapt to different foot widths for a secure fit. They have a hard-wearing non-slip sole and they are also machine washable.
Bra Buddy (Bra Fastening Aid)
Putting on a bra can be made all the more difficult if you suffer with a back problem or you have reduced mobility in one hand.
The Bra Buddy is a helpful device that allows you to put on a bra with just one hand without the need for any awkward twisting and turning.
The device holds one end of the bra while you pull the other end of the strap around the body to fasten the hooks and eyes as demonstrated in the following video.