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Lifestyle aids: dressing & grooming

Information Services

Lifestyle aids

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 areas.

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 one hand.


Shoes with velcro fasteners may be easier to fasten for people with limited hand function.


Grooming aids

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 caps.


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  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 a disability.



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