Dressing Aids

Original Editor - Robin Tacchetti Top Contributors - Robin Tacchetti


Intro[edit | edit source]

Dressing aids assist individuals with donning and doffing their clothes and shoes. People suffering from mobility issues could benefit from the various assistive products that would help make dressing independent or less burden on the caregiver. There are many different types of dressing aid[1]

Dressing Stick[edit | edit source]

A dressing stick can help individuals reach for clothes (unhooking from a hanger) or pulling clothes off and on. To use a dressing stick, one would need adequate visual and motor coordination along with moderate upper body strength.[1]Dressing sticks have both a C and S shaped hook. The C hook allows for hooking and moving clothes as well as pulling zips open or closed. The S hook is used to unhook hung up clothes.[2]

This video by Vive Health demonstrates how to use a dressing stick:

Sock Aid[edit | edit source]

A sock aid assists individuals who to pull their socks or stockings over their feet without having to reach down to their feet.[2][1] Individuals may require good fine motor and strength to manipulate the socks onto the device.[1] This device is much easier when using both hands.[2]

This video by the World Health Organization shows how to use a sock aid:

Button Hook and Zip Puller[edit | edit source]

Button hook and zip pullers allow the user to unbutton and button and pull a zipper up or down. The use of these assistive products requires good fine motor skills. [1]There are two shaped hooks on these devices:

  1. diamond shape: allows buttons to be pulled through the holes
  2. C-shape: allows zips to be pulled

This video by Vive Health demonstrates how to use a button hook and zipper pull:

Reach and Grab Tool[edit | edit source]

A reach and grab tool does exactly as its name suggests and helps assists the user to reach and pick up clothes or shoes. It can also be used to pull on skirts, shorts or pants.[2] Reach and grab tools are often used for lower body dressing and generally will not hold more than 5 pounds. The user will need adequate strength of hands and fingers to activate grasping claw mechnism.[1]This assistive product has the following features:

  • pole to make reaching easier
  • grasping claw at one end to pick up items
  • trigger handle to activate the grasping claw
    • Optional feature:
      • varying pole lengths to suit different heights[2]

This video by EquipMeOT discusses all things related to a reach and grab tool:


Long Handle Shoe Horn[edit | edit source]

If a person needs assistance getting their shoes on and off, a long handle shoe horn may be an assistive product that would be helpful. This product allows the user to reach down to the back of their shoe in standing or sitting. [2]The user would need fine motor control and sufficient coordination to use this device.[1]

This video by Bob and Brad Physical Therapists discusses how to use a long handle shoe horn:


For all dressing aid assistive devices it is important to instruct the patient to:

  1. Putting clothes on: do the weaker side first
  2. Undressing: take off on the stronger side first[2]

Resources[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Ward M, Johnson C, Klein J, Farber JM, Nolin W, Peterson MJ. Orthotics and Assistive Devices. Pediatric Rehabilitation: Principles and Practice. 2020 Nov 2:196.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 World Health Organization. Training in Assistive Products (TAP). 2020. Available from https://www.gate-tap.org/all-modules/