Lifestyle aids: dressing & grooming
The ability to dress and groom
themselves is very important to many people, and there is a range
of equipment which can be used to facilitate independence in these
Before considering equipment to assist with
dressing, consider the type of clothing to be worn. Some clothes
are easier to don or remove, such as a t-shirt or polo shirt
without buttons, or pants with an elastic waist rather than a
zipper. There are also suppliers that make modified clothing that
may be easier to don or remove. An example is clothing with velcro
fasteners instead of buttons or zippers.
Stocking, sock and pantyhose aids may be
helpful for people who have difficulty bending down to reach their
feet. The clothing item is pulled over a flexible plastic gutter,
and long cotton tapes are used to pull the plastic gutter up,
bringing the clothing item with it. Special aids to assist in
putting on compression stockings are also available.
A dressing stick is a stick with a hook on one
end. It can be used to push off or pull on hard-to-reach items of
clothing. Loops sewn onto clothing can make it easier for someone
to use a dressing stick, by providing something for the stick to
hook on to.
Long-handled shoehorns may assist with putting
shoes on by reducing the need to bend.
A button hook can make doing up buttons easier
for people who only have the use of one hand, or people who have
limited hand function. Button aids are used by passing the aid
through the buttonhole to catch the button and then pulling the
button back through the hole.
Elastic laces stretch and can remain tied up
while putting on/taking off shoes. Spring lace fasteners may also
be used to firmly hold the laces together, and can be operated with
Shoes with velcro fasteners may be easier to
fasten for people with limited hand function.
Long-handled combs or brushes can assist people
who have limited arm and shoulder movement.
Mounting equipment, such as hair dryers, can be
useful for people with only the use of one hand, coordination
difficulties or limited hand function. be mounted using suction
For people with limited hand function, a
universal cuff may be used to enable them to hold items such as
brushes and razors. A universal cuff is a velcro strap which wraps
around the hand. The object is placed in a tubing pocket so there
is no need to hold it with your fingers.
Electric razors and toothbrushes may be easier
for some people to use as they can reduce the amount of hand and
arm movement required.
Long-handled nail scissors can make reaching
the toes easier.
References and further information
Reproduced with permission from LifeTec. Visit their
website at www.lifetec.org.au
for all their fact sheets. LifeTec is a
not-for-profit, organization providing professional
information and advice on assistive technology. LifeTec assists a
wide range of people who wish to remain independent in their homes
for as long as possible, as well as family members, children and
adults who are living with a disability or supporting a person with