When you have arthritis, what used to be the routine act of getting dressed in the morning can become a lot more time-consuming, difficult, and even painful. There are ways you can adjust your process to make things easier. This includes changing your routine, choosing different clothing, and using dressing aids to assist with the dressing process.
Change Your Routine
Are you more stiff in the mornings? Prepare for your dressing routine by taking clothes off of hangers, getting socks out of drawers, and laying items out the day before. If afternoons are best for you, take a few minutes during that time of day to stage your dressing area for the next morning.
If you know it takes a couple of hours of moving about for you to be ready to get dressed, consider getting up earlier in the day. You can spend the first couple of hours of your morning in a bathrobe or housecoat having a relaxed breakfast and some time to yourself. This gives you the chance to warm up and move about before having to tackle those frustrating fine motor dressing tasks.
Choose Different Clothing
Buttons and zippers can be tricky to hold, and grasping and manipulating the tiny pieces may cause pain. Tying bows and shoes also pose the same problems. One solution is to avoid clothing with these types of closures. Easier options for dressing include velcro and elastic bands.
The type of material and the size of the clothing also matters. Tighter shirts and blouses are harder to pull on. Clothes that have wider openings for your head, arms, and legs slip on with less effort. Lined dresses and coats also have a smoother surface and glide on rather than clinging.
Using Dressing Aids
If getting dressed is still giving you trouble, and you have clothing items that you don’t want to give up, you can try buying dressing aids to help you put your things on in the morning. Zipper Pulls and Button Loops are designed to grasp and hold those tiny pieces and help you pull them up or through.
Telescoping shoehorns serve two purposes. First, they help you get your foot into your shoe. Their length also keeps you from having to bend over to use them. This solves problems related to your grip, your balance, and your pain.
Have you ever dropped a sock on the floor and felt like it may as well be at the bottom of the Grand Canyon? Using reachers, like the PikStick, will help you reach and grasp objects that have fallen or are on counters or shelving, just out of reach. The PikStik can lift up to three pounds and is precise enough to pick up an earring!
Changing your routine, choosing different clothing, and using dressing aids should help you gain more control and become more independent in dressing than you were before. If you continue to have problems, you may want to speak to an occupational therapist about ways to improve or simplify your activities of daily living. If you decide you need more dressing or living aids, ILA is happy to talk to you about what products might fit your lifestyle and serve your purposes.
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash