Everyday living – getting dressed

 The Helping Hand Company

Does arthritis, illness, surgery or other health conditions make it difficult for you or a loved one to get dressed and undressed? Read on to find out more and how simple steps can help make a difference for you.

We know that getting dressed is very important for us all and something that many of us struggle with during our lives. Under the Care Act 2014, local authorities have a duty to provide aids and minor adaptations free of charge to those who cannot do two or more activities of daily living, such as getting dressed or using the toilet without help.

Sports injury, during pregnancy, as a result of a fall or back problems may just be some of the reasons. As we get older, arthritis, illness or surgery may start to restrict our function and make it difficult for us to do what we always used to be able to do.

Why do we need to get dressed?

  • It gets you up and moving to embrace the day
  • It changes your mindset, ‘I can do’, giving you a positive start to the day
  • Enables us to achieve what we want to do
  • Good habits and small steps that can make a difference to everyday living
  • Simply makes us feel better. Its self-care and you matter.

Even if you are not going to leave the house today, getting up and dressed will make you feel better in yourself.

There are many ways in which our mobility can be affected. Some are short term, others more long term. We discuss here some of those we hear most frequently from our customers along with helpful resource links for further information.

Ongoing arthritis pain & fatigue

Even though arthritis cannot be cured, it can be kept under control with a combination of treatments and lifestyle changes. We understand that Arthritis can make it harder getting dressed, brushing your teeth or putting make-up on.

Top tips

  • Wear wider or lower sleeved tops (raglan) – less bending and easier to get in to
  • Limited shoulder mobility? Have you tried rear fastening tops?
  • Adding a metal ring or tying a piece of ribbon to zip pull can make it easier to grasp
  • Comfort should be the number one consideration when choosing shoes. Our feet may change as we get older so you may need to try difference size or width fitting.
  • A higher chair can make it much easier to get up. Make sure it gives you comfort, support and a good base to push up from. It is very important that you can place both feet firmly on the floor when seated.

Dementia

Dementia can affect all aspects of a person’s life as well as those around them. With the right help and support when you need it, many people can and do live well with Dementia

As the illness progresses it will start to impact daily activities like shopping, cooking, housework and everyday living.

Dressing is very personal to us and something we are used to making our own decisions on. Helping someone you care for with Dementia, look the way they always have will really help boost their self-esteem.

Top tips

  • Be flexible, maybe it is the same outfit several times, offer praise not criticism
  • Give choices but be careful not to be overwhelming. Select their favourite colours or just offer 2 choices
  • Organise the process. As we do when teaching children how to dress, laying out the clothes in order; handing one item at a time; keep instructions simple and direct
  • Stay seated when getting dressed. It reduces the risk of a fall, it’s safer and saves energy trying to balance.
  • Use something study for support when standing up to pull up trousers or skirts. It’s easy to get a little off balance when you do this.

Stroke

 Strokes affect everybody differently. Rehabilitation is all about getting back to normal living and living as independently as possible.

When recovering from a stroke, it is so important to re-learn the tasks of daily living. Gaining independence and feeling more in control of your life.

One everyday task is the ability to be able to dress by yourself. When you can do this yourself, it will also give those who care for you a bit of a break too.

This may be a big challenge at first, but there are techniques that make it easier, even if one side of the body is weak. Being able to dress on your own gives a self-esteem boost as well as help with overall recovery.

Did you know, it is also a form of therapy too? Using the affected side of the body as much as possible will help rebuild strength and re-train the brain.

You may need to go slow and take breaks. This will be mentally and physically challenging at first, but you can do it.

Top tips

  • Spending long periods of time in bed, do make sure that there are no tags or hard seams on clothing that can cause pressure and damage to fragile skin. Sitting in bed with wrinkled fabric can create uncomfortable pressure under bony points that are more prone to skin breakdown.
  • Generally, use your unaffected arm to dress the affected side first. It is the reverse when getting undressed.
  • Practice buttoning and unbuttoning on your lap before putting a shirt on
  • With shoes, you can write ‘R’ on the inside of the right shoe and ‘L’ on the inside of the left
  • Simplify what you need to do, and what you find hard, ask for help

It can be hard at first but it will get easier. You could start with a size larger in clothes than normal as they will be looser and then gradually return to normal size as dressing gets easier.

Caring for a loved one – a very helpful online self-help guide providing advice and information on products and equipment. Written by Occupational Therapists and equipment experts – it is totally free – visit www.AskSara.dlf.org.uk 

Getting dressed should not be a constant struggle or the reason that you lose your independence. There are many inexpensive dressing aids available today. Here are some of our best sellers that our customers have told us helps and makes it possible to continue getting dressed by themselves – simple and smart:

1. Shoe Helper

Use like a traditional reacher or grabber to pull up underwear or hook fabric to pull clothing closer to grab. The soft jaw lining is gentle against the skin when you want to remove clothes too.

This one doubles as a shoe horn too. You might think all shoe horns are equal, but this one is a cut above the rest. The extra length means no bending over.

2. Dressing stick

This simple wooden dressing stick has 2 plastic coated hooked ends. Use it to pull up pants and zips and help fasten buttons. Or, use it to push off clothing and remove socks. You might keep this in the bedroom and keep your grabber elsewhere in the house.

3. Classic Pro

This grabber can reach more than just clothing with the handy magnet end. Instead of bending over and reaching for various clothing items, just use the reacher tool. The hooked trigger is ideal for pulling clothing around the body too.

4. Sock aids

Putting on socks can be a huge effort for us all – never mind touching our toes! Our range of sock aids will give you plenty to choose from – even if you have to put on compression stockings or sports socks.

The Ezy Up has a plastic body and foam grips. First put the sock on the plastic tube, then insert your feet, wiggling toes all the way to the end before pulling up using the grips.

The Ezy On is particularly designed to use with compression hose or sports socks. Compression socks are one of the most difficult and time-consuming items to put on because they’re so tight.

To make things easier, the frame is available in 2 sizes. The larger one you can use lying, sitting or standing. The smaller one is great if you have someone who helps you.

The Soxon – Not all sock aids are the same – The Soxon is our bestseller. Ever tried to dress using just one hand?  On good days, it’s challenging, and on bad days, it could be impossible. The Soxon makes dressing easy one hand or two. Sensitive to skin allergies? Made with soft hypo allergenic fabric (bamboo!), it’s great to wick away excess moisture too. You can wash the Soxon just like your socks!

5. Shoe Horn

Many reviewers absolutely love this simple shoehorn. In an extra-long length of 21”/53cm meaning less bending to put on your shoes. Simply choose polished metal or bright yellow plastic.

Need more Information?

To find out more about each product, how to use them, visit our product page and find useful ‘How to’ Videos – https://www.hhadlessentials.co.uk/products/

To buy, visit our online shop www.HHADLEssentials.co.uk/shop

To chat through how we can help, please call the team in Herefordshire, England on 01531 635678.

Helpful Reference Guide

Arthritis

https://www.versusarthritis.org

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/arthritis/living-with/ 

Dementia

https://www.alzheimers.org.uk

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/conditions-illnesses/dementia/a-dementia-friendly-home/

https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/blog/how-make-dressing-easier-people-dementia

Stroke

https://www.strokeassociation.org

https://www.strokeassociation.org/en/help-and-support/for-family-caregivers/15-things-caregivers-should-know-after-a-loved-one-has-had-a-stroke

https://www.issybellefox.com/2019/03/i-live-in-stroke-limbo.html

Online self assessment guide

https://asksara.dlf.org.uk/

 The Helping Hand Company