Clothing and Equipment for Easier Dressing

Elderly Dressing


As you grow older, small, everyday tasks may become more and more challenging. Even if you have retained all of your range of motion, and do not suffer from any chronic illnesses, you may still notice everyday tasks become more difficult as you grow older. One of the tasks that many elderly have difficulties with is dressing themselves. Clasps, buttons and zippers can prove to be challenging for sore fingers and hands. Elderly people with dexterity issues may also find dressing themselves difficult. In order to remedy the situation, there are many clothing styles and equipment that can be utilized in order to make your mornings easier.

Clothing Styles

Clothing styles can make a huge difference to your day to day life if you struggle with dressing yourself. Loose fitting clothes may be easier to get into than tighter clothes. Other clothing styles that can be of benefit to you if you struggle with dressing yourself include:

  • Clothes with elastic waistbands, and few buttons and zippers. Any type of clasp or zipper may be difficult to work properly if you have arthritis or sore muscles in your hands and fingers.
  • Loose t-shirts and blouses that are easy to pull over your head.
  • Capes and ponchos. These work especially well for people who struggle with limited shoulder or arm movements.

Other things to consider whenever you are choosing clothes are the type of fastener that is on the clothing item. If you struggle immensely with fasteners such as buttons, snaps, or clasps, then search for clothing items with elastic waistbands and that are loose fitting. If you are able to maneuver some fasteners, then find clothing items with only those types, and make sure that the fastener is in the front of the pants or shirt. This way you will not have to reach around to your back in order to fasten your clothes.

Clothing Fabrics

Clothing fabric can also make a grand difference in your mornings if you struggle with dressing yourself. Stiff and heavy fabrics can be difficult to pick up and put on, and should be avoided at all costs. Here are a few other tips for choosing clothing fabrics:

  • Choose clothes made from knitted or jersey fabrics. These clothing items will be lightweight and easier to put on.
  • Clothes with a small amount of spandex or Lycra may also be easy to put on. These clothes will stretch, and will be easier to slip on versus heavy clothing that does not stretch.
  • Slippery and smooth fabrics often are easier to put on then heavy fabrics as well. They will glide right on, and will be easy to put on and take off.

Choosing fabrics that are easy to take care of and wash is also important. If you have difficultly dressing yourself each morning, then you also may want to think about washing and drying your clothes. Choosing clothes that wash well and do not require much work will allow you to spend less energy on washing and drying your clothes.

Dressing Equipment

On the market today, there is a myriad of items that are available to help elderly people who struggle with dressing themselves. Before buying any type of dressing equipment, it is a good idea to speak with your doctor and an occupational therapist. They can help you choose the right equipment for your needs, so that you do not buy the wrong equipment and waste your time and money. Plus, once you buy the equipment, an occupational therapist can help you utilize the item to its fullest extent and allow you to get back to dressing yourself easily each morning. Here is a list of popular items that may benefit you.

Button Hooks

Button Hooks are wire loops that are attached to a handle. They are perfect for people who struggle with buttoning any size of buttons. The wire loop threads over the button, and then you can easily pull the button through its button hole.

Dressing Sticks

Dressing Sticks are multipurpose tools that are made of wood or plastic. They have a hook at one end that allows you to grab onto pieces of clothing such as socks. Dressing hooks can be utilized to pull clothes on or off your shoulders, pull of your socks, pull up your zippers, and even tighten your shoelaces.


Reachers are also multipurpose tools that can help you get dressed each morning. They can also be used in your everyday life to pick things up off of high shelves to prevent falling. Reachers can be utilized to pick clothes up from the floor, or off of high shelves in your closet. They can also be used to pull your pants up and push down your pants, socks or underwear.

Zip Aids

Zip Aids are perfect for people who struggle with opening and closing zippers. If you struggle with this task, then a zip aid could really make your day go faster. They usually are made out of a small cord or chain that has a hook attached to one end. This hook can grab onto the opening of the zipper and then you simply pull the hook up to zip up or down your pants.

Dressing may be a difficult endeavor as you grow older. Chronic diseases such as arthritis, dementia, and Alzheimer’s can all affect a person’s ability to dress easily. Injuries from falls or aging can also deter the elderly from dressing easily. As you grow older, injuries and disease may become a commonality in your life, and these events can cause you to have challenges in your daily life. If you struggle with getting ready each day, then do not try to push yourself. Follow these simple tips, and in due time, you will be able to dress yourself easier and quicker. If you still are struggling after many weeks of adapted behavior and clothing, then talk with your doctor. You may need help from an occupational therapist to learn how to dress yourself easier and make your whole life a lot easier. Just remember, do not push yourself too hard. In time, you will be able to adapt to your abilities and you will continue to live your life to the fullest.