Preschoolers get rewards for getting dressed “all by themselves.” Adults take dressing independently for granted, except when debilitating conditions related to aging or illness arise. Arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, or stroke-related disabilities can make dressing a frustrating chore.
Fortunately, there are handy gadgets that can help seniors preserve their independence when getting dressed. Tools exist that can help with everything from buttoning a shirt to pulling on pants. These dressing aids for seniors might make great gifts for the elders in your life:
- Dressing stick: A dressing stick is just what it sounds like—a stick with hooks on the ends that people with limited mobility or weakness in an arm can use to snag and pull up zippers, pull on pants, or even untie shoelaces.
- Sock aid: This tool helps seniors put on socks without bending down too much. The sock goes over the end of a plastic sleeve. Then the foot goes in the sock, and the wearer uses handles on the device to pull the plastic sleeve up, which brings the sock with it. When the sock is on, the sleeve just pulls out of the sock.
- Button hook: Button hooks have a wire loop attached to a handle. The loop goes through the buttonhole, around the button, and then the wearer uses the handle to pull the button, held by the wire, through the buttonhole.
- Shoehorn: Bending over to pull on shoes can literally be a pain in the neck or the back. Long-handled shoehorns take care of that by helping seniors get their shoes on while standing up straight. They also help preserve the shape of the heel of the shoe, by preventing it from getting bent and squashed down.
- Long-handled combs and brushes: Part of getting dressed is grooming yourself, and that can be hard to do when your arms won’t reach above your shoulders with ease. These tools help reach up to style hair.
- Zipper grip: These attach to the little flap at the end of a zipper, which can be difficult for a person with arthritis to hang on to and pull. The grip provides an easy way to find and grab the zipper tab and pull the zipper closed.
- Bra fastener: Bras are frustrating enough to fasten for women without disabilities. But trying to fasten the two ends of the bra band together one-handed, even backward, is a major challenge. The bra fastener hangs around the neck and holds one end of the band while the wearer grabs the other one and allows her to fasten the two ends together (with the bra on backward.) Then the wearer can pull the bra around to the front and put her arms through the straps and pull them up.
Even if a senior is loath to admit they need help, they’ll appreciate knowing that these dressing aids exist, to help maintain independence in the basic and intimate task of getting dressed.