is reader supported. I may earn a small share of sales from some of the links on this page, at no extra cost to you. Learn More.

Unable to put on socks?/Use this device for dressing

If you are unable to put on socks and you need a quick solution you should consider sock aid or dressing stick. If you have pain in your hip or knee you should do some exercises to increase the blood flow and reduce pain. This article will also suggest what you can do if you are unable to remove socks. Read to the end and find out a simple way to put on or remove socks.

Let’s face it, socks, stockings, and hose aren’t the easiest items of clothing to put on at the best of times. If you aren’t careful, you will stretch the garment out of shape and end up with it twisted up your leg, making it very uncomfortable.

You need to be agile and have a body that will allow you to touch your toes. Socks are even more difficult to put on when you have mobility problems like many of the seniors in the country today.

Why do you struggle to put your socks on?

Putting your socks on your feet needs a body supple enough to touch your toes or you must be able to sit down and lift your shin onto your opposite knee. Not only that, but you also need the use of both hands to do it properly.

The list of ailments that can prevent you from easily doing these simple movements contains many that you probably wouldn’t have thought of.

  • Hip or knee replacements.
  • Worn and painful leg and hip joints.
  • Fractures leg and arm bones.
  • Sciatica and other back pain.
  • Balance issues.
  • Arthritis in legs, arms, and hands.
  • Injuries to hands and arms.
  • Shoulder and neck pain.
  • Being overweight and not being able to bend at the waist.

Hip exercises to ease arthritis pain

Out of these, probably arthritis is the most common cause of problems in the over 60 years age range. As with all types of osteoarthritis, relief partially depends on how often you’re able to exercise the joints. Because of the pain involved with moving these joints, many people worry that they’re doing more harm than good. Don’t worry, this isn’t true.

Yes, it’s natural to experience aches and soreness after exercising but it’s a fact that exercising the muscles around a joint will increase its mobility, increase the blood flow, reduce pain and increase its function.

If you haven’t exercised much before, remember to start gently and move slowly or you might end up tearing muscles and ligaments. And most importantly don’t do too many at first.

Exercise 1

  • Stand next to a wall, balance on your right foot and hold on to the wall to keep your balance.
  • Keep your leg straight with a slight bend at the knee.
  • Tap your left foot around your right one as if it’s tapping out the numbers on a clock from 1 to 12.
  • Retrace the number in the reverse direction from 12 to 1.
  • Repeat this four times.

Note: don’t twist at the waist and don’t lean forward.

Exercise 2

  • Lie on your back with legs extended and together.
  • Bend one knee and hold your shin with both hands.
  • Pull so your knee comes toward your chest. Don’t pull more than is comfortable. With practice, this might become easier.
  • Hold your leg in place for 30 seconds then replace your leg on the floor for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat with your other leg.
  • Repeat using both legs together.
  • Repeat the entire sequence four times.

Note: try to keep your back flat on the floor.

Exercise 3

  • Lie on your stomach on a firm flat surface such as a floor or your bed.
  • Place a pillow under your hips while keeping your head, neck and upper body in line and relaxed.
  • Bend a knee to 90 degrees.
  • Lift the other leg straight up as far as you can go.
  • Slowly lower the leg to the floor counting to five while you lower.
  • Repeat this eight times
  • Repeat everything with your other leg.

Note: start with 8 repetitions, then over time slowly work your way up to 12 repetitions. When this becomes easy, add 1 pound weights onto your ankles and start from 8 repetitions again. Keep adding weights as the exercise becomes easier.

There are many other exercises you can try. As long as they are ‘resistance exercises’ you will feel some benefit. Ask your doctor or physiotherapist for exercises that may be more suitable for your circumstances.

RELATED: Exercises for seniors

Is there Something to help put Socks on?

Exercises are great for long term help, but how will we manage to put our socks on today or tomorrow?  If you have a partner who can help, then great. However, this isn’t helping you become more independent, is it?

You should look at the many online catalogs, that specialize in dressing aids. Look for the following two aids:

Sock Aids

Sock aids can help you if you’re temporarily or permanently incapacitated and helps both disabled and elderly people to keep their independence.

Most sock aids are just variations of a set format. They consist of a ‘foot chute’ over which your sock slides, and into which you place your foot. You then pull the handle straps which pull the sock on your foot and push the chute from your foot. The sock then travels up your ankle.

Dressing Stick

That sounds great doesn’t it but how do you take your sock off? The solution is a ‘dressing stick’.

This is a stick between two and three feet in length, with a hook on the end. Some have a variety of hook shapes to help with different dressing tasks from socks to jackets and from panties to shirts. Some also include a shoehorn for help with putting your shoes on. Additionally, most of them dismantle for easy storage when traveling.

RELATED: Guide to dressing aids for seniors

How do you take socks off?

How do you take your shoes off at the moment? With difficulty, I’ll bet. It’s relatively easy to remove your shoes without using your hands. Just, ease the heel of one shoe off with the toe of the other foot. But how about removing your socks. Not so easy.

You probably trap the toe of one sock under the other foot and try to drag your sock off by pulling your foot out. Not only does this stretch your socks, but you are also standing for a while without proper balance and this can be very dangerous.

Using a dressing stick allows you to push the sock down your leg and over your heel without stretching anything and without losing your balance. Try one, you’ll be amazed at how easy the task becomes.

What’s next?

Don’t wear socks all the time. It is important to take off your stockings before going to bed, especially if you wear compression ones. If you liked this dressing aid you should also check out more useful products for seniors.

How to make Toilet seat Higher?

Toilet bowls are usually made with a standard height, based on the dimensions of a ‘standard’ adult, whatever that is! Unfortunately, this height isn’t always useful for those of us who are either taller or shorter than ‘normal’. Also, they make ‘using the toilet’ more difficult if we have less mobility than the ‘standard’ adult in good health.

What height should a toilet seat be?

Well, a ‘standard height’ toilet (this is what we call a ‘normal’ toilet height ) is usually two to four inches lower than a ‘comfort height’ toilet (this is what we call a taller disabled-friendly toilet). If you want to know the measurements from floor to top of the seat, they are

  • Standard height: 15 to 16 inches.
  • Comfort height: 17 to 19 inches.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifies these measurements as the correct height range for a disabled toilet.

You must remember that a standard toilet is that height because it’s easier to move our bowels if our hips are slightly lower than our knees. This is especially noticeable if we suffer from constipation. If this sounds familiar and you need a comfort height toilet seat, try raising your feet slightly on a step stool to help move your bowels.

Attachments to make toilet seat higher:

Let’s look at the different ways you can add the extra inches to your toilet, shall we? Unless you intend using a ‘comfort height’ toilet for many years, you probably shouldn’t spend out a lot of money on having a new disabled toilet installed.

Fortunately, there are many temporary solutions available. They probably won’t all suit your particular circumstances. Nevertheless, study the selection and see which one you prefer. Then go online or look in a catalog to find a particular style that you think will work for you.

Tall toilet seat

This is what many people think of when we talk about attachments to make your toilet higher.  They are basically a plastic extension that sits on top of the toilet bowl in place of the regular toilet seat. We also call these ‘raised toilet seats’. The tall toilet seat either clamps onto the existing pan or uses the existing bolt holes for connecting a regular seat.

Toilet Riser

This variation tends to be more permanent as we have to change the location of the toilet pan, the connected drainage and incoming water plumbing to accommodate the altered height. In practice, it is a small platform base that sits between the floor and the toilet pan and raises it the required extra few inches. Check this link for more about raised toilet seats.

Cushioned toilet seats

These are for those people who have problems sitting for a long time on the toilet (or for those who like to read the newspaper) and need a bit of comfort.  You can buy these as a padded seat incorporated into the ‘raised toilet seat’,  as a separate vinyl covered foam pad or as an inflatable cushion.

We can use both the latter two with or without the ‘raised seat’. Whichever one you choose, be assured that it is hygienic and completely washable.

Mechanical toilet seat lift

Mechanical toilet seats take away all the effort entirely. They are especially useful if you have severe mobility problems. Many people who are confined to a wheelchair or who are bed-bound have these to assist their professional carers, who would otherwise have to lift them onto the toilet seat.

These machines have the toilet seat connected to a motor that tilts the seat from horizontal to vertical and back again. You stand against the vertical seat and lean against it. The motor then lowers the seat to the horizontal taking you with it. These come with grab rails or armrests so you can keep balanced while the seat moves.

Separate high frames

The high seats we’ve looked at so far are all fixed, either temporarily or permanently to the ceramic toilet pan. But what happens if you need a high toilet and are visiting friends or relatives? Separate high commode frames are the answer. You probably know that a commode is a chair incorporating a removable bowl.

We use these when we are confined to our bedroom and can’t easily visit the bathroom. The idea behind the ‘high frame’ is that the chair frame gives you the extra height, but there is a hygienic removable, wide diameter connecting tube from the seat to the toilet bowl to confine the waste.

High toilets

The final type we’ll look at is exactly what you’d expect from the name. Manufacturers specially make the high toilet with a ceramic bowl. It incorporates the extra height within itself so you just need a standard toilet seat on top. You will find these expensive to buy and they must be installed professionally, so only consider this option if you expect to use it for many years to come.

Why do seniors need higher toilet seats?

As we get older, we lose strength and flexibility in our aging muscles. We are less able to use our joints properly, and we become more prone to injury.

Because of this, we are less able to do those activities that younger and more able bodied people take for granted. One of the most difficult things for those of us with limited mobility is to squat on a toilet. Or, once sitting we find it difficult to stand up again.

We can solve this problem by using a higher toilet seat so we don’t have to bend so much. Don’t forget to add a grab bar at the same time to help yourself stay safe and balanced. Although, some raised seats incorporate armrests to help ‘push up’.

What’s next?

If you have a tall toilet (or an attachment to make it taller) you will exert less energy while sitting down and standing up. You’ll find your balance is better and your knees will certainly thank you.

But, it’s not only knee problems that benefit. It will also help those with hip, back and leg problems. And, of course those of us who are taller than normal.

How to Cut toenails if you Can’t reach them?

We need to cut our toenails to make it easier to wear shoes. If we have long toenails, they will continually press against our shoes resulting in deformed feet, deformed toenails and eventually the skin around the toe will become infected. 

Why you can’t reach Toenails?

You’ve probably noticed over the years that it’s more difficult to reach down to cut your toenails. You can’t bend as easily as you used to, and if you try to do it, you’ll put a strain on your neck and back muscles. This didn’t happen suddenly, it probably crept up on you gradually as you became older.

Age and joint pain

As we get older, we find that our toenails become thicker and harder to cut. This is partially due to the years of trauma they suffer by being cooped up inside a pair of shoes. And, partially due to fungal infections that love to grow around people’s feet. 

Furthermore, seniors often have bent or deformed toes due to arthritis and other conditions.  This can make it difficult to cut the nails properly.  If your toenails are difficult to cut, you might be tempted to let them grow long. This is the wrong thing to do.


I’ll bet you’re saying that you’ve never had any injury to your feet. But, believe it or not, the slightest knock or pressure will do all kinds of damage to our feet and toenails. They are wrapped up inside a tight or uncomfortable pair of shoes, high heels, cheap trainers and the rest of the fashionable footwear we see in the department store windows.

Over time the toes develop thick nails for protection against the continuous bashing they take.  A common problem with toe injury is for the toenail to grow awkwardly, resulting in an ‘ingrown toenail’. This condition aggravates if you can’t cut them properly.

Likewise, people who have injuries find it very difficult to cut their nails. Hand and arm injuries, especially make it very hard for the seniors to cut their nails. Whereas, injured legs and feet result in loss of mobility as well as possible having feet and legs covered in bandages.

Hip surgery is even worse because there’s no hip mobility while recovering, and reduced movement after the surgery has healed.


Believe it or not, obesity and being overweight can cause problems with toenails and their condition. If we’re overweight then our feet and toes take a lot of punishment. Toenails grow thick for self –protection, as a result. Overweight people also find it more difficult to bend at the waist to look after their feet.

This results in various toe related problems for the obese senior because of poor foot hygiene.


Some people have a genetic condition or have an injury which leaves them disabled. These people find it very hard to do even the simplest self-hygiene tasks, with toenail maintenance being one of those that often gets overlooked.

RELATED: Guide to hygiene aids

Ways to cut toenails if you can’t reach them:

You probably think that there’s no way you’ll be able to cut your toenails. You’re a senior who can’t bend and you have thick deformed nails. What can you do? Well, there are a few ways to manage this necessary task.

Use a nail clipper with a long handle

This is something that almost every senior would find useful. Not everyone can afford to have a pedicure or will have someone to cut their toenails for them. If this sounds familiar, you can buy nail clippers with long handles so you don’t have to bend down. The long handles also make it easier for you to hold and cut if you have arthritis in your hands.

Use an automatic electric nail clipper

An electric nail clipper means that you don’t have to put any effort into the cutting action. Cutting nails is now really easy, especially the thick and brittle ones. Modern cutters don’t make much noise and use rechargeable batteries.

Go to a specialist to have a pedicure

The reasons why someone may require specialist toenail clippers are very varied. The issues specialist toenail clippers look to solve are:

Toenails themselves. Toenails become thicker and harder to cut overtime.

Mobility. People often encounter problems with reaching the toe itself – mobility is reduced with age, because of arthritis, or just general stiffness of the tendons and joints.

RELATED: How to improve mobility in elderly

Arthritis. Arthritis in the hands can stop the comfortable use of clippers because it causes pain to use them. Nearly half of over 65s experience arthritic pain.

Poor vision. Reduced eyesight can lead to being unable to use clippers normally.

RELATED: Vision and reading aids for seniors

Bent toes. Bent toes as a result of arthritis make it very hard to clip toenails without effort.

If you can afford it, go to a salon and have a pedicure. Even if you can’t afford to make it a regular event, it’s nice as a special treat. Some medical practitioners specialize in toenail maintenance and you might be able to get this done via your doctor.

Have someone cut toenails for you

If you can’t afford to visit a professional or if you don’t want to, you might have someone you trust who can do it for you. However, the person who will cut your nails must know how to do it properly. If they make a mistake, it’s very easy to cut the nail so it starts to ‘in-grow’, and they can easily draw blood.

How to Cut thick toenails Properly?

This is something that many people find difficult to master. However, there are some simple steps you can follow to make sure you cut your toenails safely and easily.

  • Soften the nails. Soak your feet, either in a regular bathtub or in a footbath. Add some bath salts to help soften the nails. Afterwards, apply a moisturizing cream or petroleum jelly to the toenails to make them softer and easy to cut. It’s also a good way of practicing foot hygiene.
  • Keep your toenails clean. It’s not very pleasant for anyone who has offered to cut your toenails, to do it on dirty feet. Wash your feet and nails with soap and warm water and dry them with a clean towel.
  • Cut the nails correctly. It’s important to cut toenails correctly to prevent infection and to make sure they grow as they should.
  • Cut the nails straight across. Don’t dig the scissors into the skin and don’t curve the nails so they are cut into the sides.
  • Use the correct nail clippers. Fingernail clippers are different from toenail clippers. They tend to be smaller and you’ll find it difficult to cut toenails with them. Disinfect scissors and nail clippers with a little rubbing alcohol or sterilizing solution before and after use.
  • Leave the nails a little bit long. If you cut the toenails very short, you’ll probably cause an ingrown nail. You will also open yourself up to infection.
  • After washing your feet, make sure your nails are dry before cutting. Wet nails will bend, tear and end up ragged.
  • Make a few small cuts. Don’t attack your toenails with one big cut. Nibble away at them with small cuts until you have them as you would like.
  • File the nails. You can file nails rather than cut them. You can also file off sharp corners and jagged bits after cutting. Move the file or emery board in one direction in short, gentle movements. Continue until the nail is at the correct length and smooth.
  • Don’t cut cuticles. Use a cuticle stick to push the cuticle neatly back. You can buy these from drugstores, beauty supply stores and other similar stores.

What’s next?

For more useful information be sure to read hygiene and grooming checklist,