Getting dressed in the morning can become a challenge as we age. Dressing with arthritis, for example, means dealing with flexibility and dexterity challenges.
When you see a loved one struggle with putting on a sweater, getting pants over her feet or buttoning a shirt, you naturally want to step in and help. But maintaining independence in dressing can help her feel a sense of personal accomplishment and self-reliance.
Lillian wanted to dress herself because her daughter was busy getting ready for work in the morning. She didn’t want to feel she was a burden. But osteoarthritis made dressing difficult.
We worked with Lillian and her daughter to come up with a plan that included the use of adaptive equipment:
- Her daughter helped Lillian choose an outfit the night before so they wouldn’t feel so rushed in the morning.
- Lillian purchased a buttonhook with a large, textured handle that helped her button her blouses in a reasonable amount of time.
- She used a reacher, a long-handled device that grips things, to hold her slacks while she got her feet into them and pulled them up to her knees. From there, she was able to pull them over her hips while standing.
- Lillian chose comfortable slip-on shoes and a long-handled shoehorn so she could put her shoes on independently.
- She sat in a chair for dressing rather than sitting on the edge of the bed where she felt less stable.
Dressing with arthritis or other disorders that affect mobility, dexterity or flexibility often requires some adaptations, but the sense of autonomy is well worth the effort. Explore your local medical equipment store for some great options, or do some research online.
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