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Assistive devices for dressing and adaptive clothing for elderly

In case you are searching assistive devices for dressing you should consider buttonhooks and zippers tabs. Stocking Slider is also a great tool for pulling socks on and off. Or, you might need to learn to dress using a different method.

Many seniors have problems getting dressed. This is mainly because they can’t hold buttons or zippers or can’t reach to pull clothes on or off. Read further to find adaptive clothing.

Assistive devices for dressing

Everyone’s needs are different so the solution must be planned depending on your requirements. You can use dressing aids or it may be that all you need is to change to elasticated clothing rather than use buttons and laces.


These are simple devices. Push the hook through a buttonhole, loop it around the button and pull back through the buttonhole. It works every time. Even if you are fairly nimble in all other ways, there are always some buttons that cause problems so use a buttonhook.

If you have problems with gripping, you can buy buttonhooks with large diameter handles.


Zipper tabs are usually too small to handle if you have problems grasping things. This is especially true of trouser fly zippers.

  • Fit a larger diameter ring (such as a key ring) to the zipper tab.
  • Use a dressing stick to connect to a zipper ring if you can’t reach it normally.
  • Replace all your zippers with Velcro. This is probably the best solution for trouser flies.

Stocking Slider

Pulling on socks, stockings, and pantyhose is very difficult to do if you have problems bending, stretching and grasping. You can, however, buy special mechanical aids to do this job for you. They are usually made of plastic bent into a curve. First, roll the sock or stocking onto the plastic. Hold onto the cotton tapes while the aid and sock are lowered to the floor.

Slide the foot into the aid and pull the tapes. The sock slides onto the foot, then you remove the plastic aid.

You can also try to reach your feet while sitting down and crossing your legs. Rest the calf of one leg on the knee of the other so you can reach your foot and put on the sock. Check for more hints on how to put on socks.

Long-handled Shoe horn

Adaptive clothing for elderly


Bras often have fastenings at the back. If that is too difficult, consider buying a front fastening version. Hook and eye fastenings are often very small and difficult to grasp. Get your bra altered to have a front opening with Velcro and a D ring as a fastener.

You can buy a bra with no fastenings at all. Putting it on involves either pulling over your head or stepping into it and pulling it up into place.

There are aids that allow the wearer to put on their bra one-handed. If that is you, then seriously consider it.

Once again, identify your needs and see what is available to provide a solution. Check this buyer’s guide to bras for older ladies.


We mentioned earlier about long-handled shoehorns being really useful when slipping your shoes on. They eliminate the need to bend down and when used in conjunction with a gripper, can pull socks up too.

Shoelaces are often very difficult to manage as they require both hands at the shoe. Something not always possible. As an alternative, consider using elastic laces and just slip the shoes on and off.

A good way to handle shoe fastening is to use cord and barrel locks.

Another way to handle shoelaces is to use Ortholace. The Velcro attachment easily fits your existing shoes and allows for one-handed operation.

Probably the best way to overcome problems with laces is to avoid them completely and buy slip-on shoes or ones with Velcro fasteners.

Removing shoes and boots is always a problem so a Boot Jack will probably be a good thing to have. A Boot Jack has a curved cutout to take the heel of one boot while the other foot presses on the other end of the Jack to hold it stable. You can then easily pull off each boot in turn.

Once you are indoors, it’s always a good idea to wear slippers as they are far more comfortable to wear and easier to put on or take off. Various medical versions are available with a wide Velcro fastener. Some styles even fold completely flat and then fasten over the top of the foot and around the heel. Always remember to choose slippers with non-slip rubber soles to avoid falling over.

What else can you do to make dressing easier?

Change dressing techniques

If you have one weak hand or maybe one side paralyzed, there are alternative dressing methods you can learn. Your shoulders may be weak so putting on a coat might be really difficult. If this sounds familiar, then it’s probably best to seek advice from your doctor, who can put you in touch with a specialist.

Adapt your clothing

  • Wear skirts and trousers that have elastic waistbands. They are easier to use than those with fasteners or a belt.
  • If you must use fasteners, then use Velcro. It is so much easier to use with one hand.
  • You can wear a shirt fastened with Velcro but with buttons sewn on the outside to maintain the appearance of a proper shirt.
  • Use clothing without fasteners like tee shirts, jogging bottoms, and sweaters.
  • You can buy adapted clothing from specialist companies or find someone local who can alter your existing clothing.

What’s next?

I hope that you find this post helpful. If you have more questions I will try to outline more topics. Check bathing suits appropriate for older ladies. To stay independent check these products. In case you are facing swelling feet check compression socks for seniors. If you are feeling uncomfortable wearing a bra, check bra alternatives for seniors.

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