Dressing Aids

Though the pandemic may have many of us staying in our pajamas throughout the day there are still occasions to have us putting on some fancier clothes and when the time comes, there are many types of dressing aids available to help out.

*IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: this information is meant to alert you to the equipment that exists to help you but is not intended as a training module to use it safely. Please contact the manufacturer of each device or a qualified therapist/medical professional to help you select devices most appropriate to you and to teach you how to use it safely.

**This post may contain affiliate links from Amazon Associates or other affiliate programs through which I may earn a portion of qualifying purchases

Dressing Stick

The dressing stick is a long stick with hooks at either end. In this example the small hook on one end can hook onto zippers or shoelace loops while the larger end can help with pulling up pant legs, removing socks, and putting on shirts

RMS Deluxe 28 Inches Long Dressing Stick

Shoe Horn

Ahh the shoe horn, this simple long handled device slides in the back of the shoe to prevent that oh-so-annoying crumpling of the back of the shoe that happens when you try to slide your foot into it. They come in long and short versions that you can leave at home or carry with you.

Metal Shoe Horn Long Handle For Seniors, Set of 2

Shoe Funnel

Sometimes the shoe horn is not as simple and easy to use as the design implies. Some people find this device, the Foot Funnel Shoe Assist to be easier to use. This device slides over the back of your shoe then, after grabbing ahold of the strings, you can slide your foot in and pull up on the back. Cool, huh?

FootFunnel Shoe Assist by North Coast Medical

Sock Aid

Loss of grip or hand use, difficulty reaching down to your feet or even pain in the joints can make putting on socks tough. The sock aid spreads open the sock, allows you to slip your foot in and allows you to pull the sock up with greater ease.

The Don N’ Doffer:

This device may look daunting but it solves a common problem that many people who need to wear compression socks face: compression socks are hard as heck to get on. Even for someone with full strength and flexibility in their hands and legs pulling these suckers up is a workout. The Don and Doffer is a neat creation that actually slides the sock on very easily, saving you a ton of grief and hopefully increasing the likelihood that you will wear the socks as prescribed. This one can be a little tricky at first but their website has step by step instructions on how to use: Don N’ Doffer

Doff N’ Donner Combo Pack – Compression Stocking & Diabetic Sock Aid Kit

Button Hook

Loss of dexterity in the fingers can make buttons a real pain. Enter the button hook:

Button Hook Dressing Aids

The One Handed Bra

I don’t know about you guys but I’ve never been able to fasten a bra one-handed. There are definitely ways to do it and a quick internet video search will reveal some great how-to videos. However, I encourage you to take a look at The One Handed Bra. Bra Easy is an amazing Australia based company that developed beautiful and easy to don bras. They have a cool story and an even cooler product.


For anyone experiencing challenges with putting on or pulling up pants this nifty device holds open the pants, shorts or underwear and with the long handle allows you to reach it down toward your legs to place them in the openings then pull the garment up toward you. Note these come in different sizes!

Kinsman WingsPants Large

Clip and Pull Pants Assist 

Clips that attach to the waistband of underwear, shorts of pants can help with pulling them up from around your feet whether you are sitting, standing or lying down.

Clip and Pull Dressing Aid Strap – 2Pcs

Pants Up Easy

This innovative device was designed specifically for persons with spinal cord injury but might be useful for anyone who has difficulty standing to pull their pants up the final 25% of the way. This device can be installed on the wall or purchased as a stand-alone device that slips under your armpits so you can lift your hips out of your chair and still have hands free to pull up the pants. Check out their webpage here: Pants Up Easy

Mommas (and Dads!) on the Move

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There is no question that parenting is both tough and rewarding. One can feel overwhelmed by the endless amount of gadgets, furniture, clothing and other stuff that you have to consider buying once the new little one makes their grand entrance into the world. The internet, magazines and TV are bursting with colorful ads about the latest this or that which will make you and your little one’s life easier but lets face it, ableism is strongly at play when it comes to this industry and many people may feel at a loss as to how to adapt all these items to meet their own needs.

So what’s a parent (or sibling or babysitter or anyone else involved in childcare) to do when you can’t use both of your arms in the same way, can’t stand up to reach the changing table at its full height, use a wheelchair or crutches or a walker for mobility, have hearing or visual impairments? It may feel like the answers aren’t out there and it’s true that you have to look a little further than most but the good news is that smart and innovative people are out there working hard to solve this problem and I’m here to share some of the tools and products available to you!

**IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: this information is meant to alert you to the equipment that exists to help you but is not intended as a training module to use it safely. Please contact the manufacturer of each device or a qualified therapist/medical professional to help you select devices most appropriate to you and to teach you how to use it safely.

**This post may contain affiliate links from Amazon Associates or other affiliate programs through which I may earn a portion of qualifying purchases

Strolling Along

Let’s face it, pushing a stroller is basically a two-handed job. So what’s a person to do when walking along behind a stroller and pushing it with both arms just isn’t gonna happen?

The Stroll-Smart Hands-Free Adaptor pictured below attaches to your waist allowing you to push the stroller using your torso instead of your hands. This could be a great solution for someone who needs to use an assistive device like this woman below or if you aren’t able to steer the stroller well with one or both hands and want a little extra support.

For parents who are wheelchair users designers have come up with several innovative attachments that combine the stroller and the wheelchair into one unit so that parent’s can transport their child safely while seated in their wheelchair. Spinalcord.com just released a great article in December 2020 highlighting several different products that are available on the market right now.

Cursum Stroller

Carriers and Nursing Products

The Tushbaby Certified Hip Seat Baby Carrier is a helpful device that supports a baby’s bottom while you carry them on your hip. This is a great option if you lack the strength, muscle endurance or confidence in your arm for holding your baby this way. Let’s face it, babies are heavy and if you have to use your dominant arm to hold them and your nondominant arm isn’t as useful to perform secondary tasks this may give you an option for supporting them with the other arm so you can continue to have the preferred hand free to take care of other things.

Breastfeeding pillows typically secure around a woman’s waist so that she can nurse with less reliance on her hands but this could easily be used by other parents and caregivers while they are bottle feeding or just to support the baby while they sleep. This product for example, the My Brest Friend Original Nursing Posture Pillow gets points both for a clever name and also for its design!

Ring slings are a great option for hands-free carrying and also for breastfeeding. Whether sitting or standing these devices can support your baby comfortably and are great for wheelchair users, parents with any kind of wrist, hand or arm pain and anyone with weakness in their arms. The Hip Baby Wrap Ring Sling Baby Carrier for Infants and Toddlers is a great example. It is hand-woven from 100% cotton and has many great reviews on Amazon.

Wheelchair Accessible/Adjustable Height Cribs

Whether you have trouble bending down and lowering your child into a crib or can’t get close enough in your chair to reach them safely at all, the adjustable height/wheelchair accessible crib option is for you. The PediaLift is a great example of a crib that raises and lowers using a remote so that a wheelchair can slide underneath the crib or so that a parent or caregiver can transfer their baby safely and comfortable. With side access doors this crib eliminates the need to reach over the top of the railing. Gertie Cribs are another example of a height adjustable crib with side access doors that allow parents easier access to the crib mattress at the height that is most comfortable for them.

Car Seats

Transferring a baby or toddler into the carseat can be nearly impossible for some people if they can’t reach the front of the seat well. Some brands have tried to solve this problem by designing car seats with a swivel base. The CYBEX Sirona S Rotating Convertible Car Seat with SensorSafe 2.1 is just one example. Now I haven’t ever used this device so I am only making you aware of its existence but can’t vouch for it’s safety or effectiveness. Because these devices are so important for preventing serious injury while riding in the car it is important that you do your own research and consult your pediatrician to ensure this device is safe for your baby before purchasing.


Bathing. We all have to do it and for babies and infants they typically require a sink or infant bath to do so safely. The problem is, these methods are hardly accessible for anyone using a wheelchair or who has a hard time standing for a long period of time. I did a pretty extensive internet search assuming there must be some kind of accessible baby bath out there but I’m saddened to say I hit a dead end. How has no one invented this yet?? One genius and handy dad did share his DIY wheelchair accessible bathing station which just goes to show that there is still a lot of room to grow when it comes to adaptive parenting equipment.

Resources for Hearing and Visually Impaired Parents

Visually and hearing-impaired parents have been successfully raising children all over the world. Though they may need different strategies than others, where there is a will, there is a way. The National Federation for the Blind has a special section for Blind Parents filled with great resources including the Blind Parents Connection Podcast, helpful videos, a Blind Parents Mentoring Program and many more helpful tools.

Also, definitely check out The Deaf Mama blog written by a mom with hearing loss who, when faced with buying baby items that worked best for her, realized other moms and dads out there could benefit from her experience!

Parenting with an Intellectual Disability or Learning Disability

Parenting with an intellectual or learning disability is absolutely possible under the right circumstances and with the right supports and help in place. As every parent’s needs will be a little different it is important to have a good network of friends, family and professionals around you to help you identify where extra help and training may be needed and what services are available in your community to help you. The Arc is the largest national community-based organization advocating for and with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and serving them and their families. They are a fantastic resource on this topic and a great place to start is their guide for Parents with Intellectual Disabilities.

The Not So Secret Life of…Sex

Though a taboo subject in many communities, discussions around sex, sexuality and intimacy should not trigger feelings of shame or embarrassment. The truth is, sex, pleasure and intimacy are normal and healthy parts of life but many people, including persons with disabilities may not see themselves or their personal experience represented in typical narratives around sex in the media or even in education and schooling. Persons with disabilities, however, are sexual and express their sexuality in ways that are as diverse as anyone else.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Concern for sexual health among persons with disabilities needs to be a greater priority amongst educators and health care professionals. Lack of understanding around anatomy and physiology and the practical aspects of sexual function and sexual intimacy after a neurologic injury or when living with a neurologic disorder can often leave individuals feeling confused, frustrated or alienated. Additionally, the social-emotional aspects of this topic often go unaddressed. Though this is certainly not my specialty area and I am not an expert on sexual health and function, my work and research as a neurologic physical therapist has led me to many great resources that I think you will find helpful and inspiring!

*Post may contain affiliate links from Amazon Associates or other affiliate programs through which I may earn a portion of qualifying purchases

Online Resources for Sexual Function after Spinal Cord Injury

Craig Hospital Sexual Function for males after SCI

Craig Hospital Sexual function for females after SCI

Facingdisability.com is a website for families facing spinal cord injury. The website is extensive and absolutely worth checking out. Included on their webpage is a section on sex and fertility information. They cover gender-specific issues such as sexual function, aids, pregnancy and childbirth for women and erectile dysfunction, medications, fertility and more for men.

Books and Guides

Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability: For All of Us Who Live with Disabilities, Chronic Pain, and Illness by Miriam Kaufman, M.D., Cory Silverberg and Fran Odette. This book is written by a sex educator, a disability advocate and a medical doctor to provide a wide reaching perspective on all aspects of sex for people living with disabilities, pain, chronic conditions or illnesses.

Pleasure ABLE Sexual Device Manual for Persons with Disabilities (2009) is a great resource I recommend for my own clients. Be aware that this manual contains anatomical images, pictures and descriptions of sex and descriptions and photos of devices and ideas to facilitate sex and intimacy. This manual is a great tool to learn about alternatives and modifications to what may be considered traditional methods of sexual intimacy and intercourse including examples of helpful devices, strategies for positioning and many other great tips. 

Other Helpful Websites

SEXABILITY Resources from the Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services from the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is an extensive list of books, websites and films. Subtopics include such things as Spectrum Disorders, Relationships and Sexuality, Physical disabilities and sexuality, and more.

A Neurologic Diagnosis Doesn’t Mean the End of Intimacy: Brain and Life Magazine (2016/2017). A publication of the American Academy of Neurology

Sex After Stroke: A resource published by the UK Stroke Association

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

Kitchen Hacks

Cooking, cleaning and preparing meals in the kitchen can pose unique challenges to anyone with mobility impairments or difficulty using their hands or arms. Sharp knives, unusually shaped fruits and vegetables and suddenly boiling pots keep you on your toes (or wheels) in the kitchen. Just because you don’t have full use of both hands, however, doesn’t mean you can’t be a whiz in the kitchen. It may take a bit more time to get the job done but with patience, ingenuity, help from a friend or family member on occasion, and the proper equipment, there will always be a place for you in the kitchen. 

While there are probably many more creative hacks to make time in the kitchen more efficient and enjoyable take a look at some of the options found below!

**IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: this information is meant to alert you to the equipment that exists to help you but is not intended as a training module to use it safely. Please contact the manufacturer of each device or a qualified therapist to help you select devices most appropriate to you and to teach you how to use it safely.

**This post may contain affiliate links from Amazon Associates or other affiliate programs through which I may earn a portion of qualifying purchases


Rocker knife: The T-Grip Rocker Knife allows the user to grasp the handle and rock the blade back and forth across the food, eliminating the need to saw back and forth.

T-Grip Rocker Knife

Built Up Utensils: the handles on these utensils have a larger circumference which makes it easier to grip and hold them. You can purchase a set of utensils pre-made with larger handles such as these: Vive Adaptive Utensil Set or you can purchase tubing such as Foam Tubing Grips to Make Built Up Utensils Handles and add it to any slender tool or utensil in your home.

Curved Silverware: for those with limited hand/wrist range of motion or spasticity this type of utensil can direct the food into your mouth more easily and comfortably. Note: these come in left- and right-handed styles to pay attention when ordering.

Parsons ADL Comfort Grip Curved Utensils, Soup Spoon, Left

Universal Cuff: great for anyone with hand weakness or limited dexterity, the universal cuff straps around the hand and on the palm side allows for any long household item such as a fork or knife, comb or toothbrush to be held into place for use. If more support at the wrist is needed to keep it extended consider a universal cuff/wrist orthosis combo like this Standard Wrist Orthosis with Universal Cuff. If the user has some stability in the wrist already the smaller version that fits just around the hand such as Norco Universal Quad Cuff may be more appropriate

Liftware Tremor Utensils: these devices were designed to adjust to the amplitude of a hand tremor to try and stabilize the surface of the spoon or fork to allow for easier transfer of food from plate to mouth. Some people are better candidates than others and with a hefty price tag research into the device is a good idea before purchasing

Liftware Steady Starter Kit for Hand Tremor

Cooking tools

Single-handed cutting board: The Single Handed Cutting Board is designed with a barrier in one corner of the board against which items like a sandwich can be stabilized. They also include a number of spikes onto which items like fruits or vegetables can be applied so they don’t move while you cut them.

Adaptive Kitchen Workstation: this multifaceted device suctions to the countertop to prevent slipping. It allows you to stabilize a variety of items for slicing, grating or chopping and provides a nonslip place for bowl to sit while mixing. The Cutting Boards For Kitchen And Meal Prep, Adaptive Wood And Plastic Cutting Board, Kid-Safe Chopping Board  comes with good reviews of its efficacy.

Jar openers: These come in various sizes and shapes and can help open stubborn jar tops. Whether you lack the strength to grasp it tightly or the use of second hand to stabilize the jar these tools can be a lifesaver. Here are a few examples: The Grip Jar Opener: The Original Under Cabinet Lid Opener, Electric Jar Opener, Kitchen Gadget Strong Tough Automatic Jar Opener , Jar Opener Can Opener Bottle Opener

Cut Resistant Gloves: These can be a lifesaver, or finger saver in this case. Cut resistant gloves are made with specialized materials to protect the skin against the sharp edge of a knife blade, grater or mandoline slicer. If you don’t feel like you have the steadiest of hands or greatest coordination these gloves can bring confidence in the kitchen.

NoCry Cut Resistant Gloves

Herb mincer/food chopper: can chop small herbs or food like garlic into small pieces using one hand. You can purchase rolling options like this one: Simposh Mini Chopper or cylindrical ones that you press down on like this one: ZYLISS FastCut Herb Mincer

Other Helpful Items:

Lap Desk for Wheelchair Users: A simple LapGear Mydesk Lap Desk can be a perfect workstation for prepping food from your wheelchair. Consider the material it is made of to ensure you can clean an sanitize it easily between uses.

Kitchen Roll About: The Kitchen Roll About is a wheeled trivet that allows you to move heavy and hot pots or dishes along the countertop without having to lift them 

Nonslip Mats: stabilize plates, bowls, cutting boards or other items

gasare, Extra Large, Thicker, Silicone Mats,

Suction cup plate: The Ableware Scooper Plate with Suction Cup Base for example, adheres to the table to prevent spilling or slippage of the plate during meals 

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Push and Pull: a Guide to Transfer Devices and Equipment

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Loss of muscle strength, range of motion or flexibility, coordination or cognition may result in difficulty independently moving and transferring oneself. We often take for granted the number of times we change position throughout the day. Rolling over in bed, getting in and out of the car or bath, on and off the toilet or different seated surface can pose a significant challenge for anyone with a mobility impairment. 

Injuries can easily occur during these transitions both to the person trying to transfer and to those trying to assist. Poor body mechanics and insufficient tools can cause back or other injuries when attempting to help someone reposition and falls can happen if someone doesn’t have the support they need. Falls are a serious cause of injury and death, especially among the elderly. In the U.S. in 2018, one in four adults reported falling resulting in 88 deaths per day amongst older adults . In fact the CDC predicts the number of yearly falls will increase from 36 million to 52 million by 2030.  The medical costs for falls alone reached over $50 billion dollars and there is a high risk for increased morbidity after each fall (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 2020). 

Luckily, an entire industry of adaptive equipment has been created to assist you in maximizing both success and safety during transfers. Check out some of the helpful devices and examples below and know that this is by no means an exhaustive list, but a place to get started. 

**IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: this information is meant to alert you to the equipment that exists to help you but is not intended as a training module to use it safely. Please contact the manufacturer of each device or a qualified therapist to help you select devices most appropriate to you and to teach you how to use it safely.

**This post may contain affiliate links from Amazon Associates or other affiliate programs through which I may earn a portion of qualifying purchases

Gait/Transfer Belts

If you’ve ever spent any time in the hospital you have likely seen the yellow bands adorning the wrists of many patients. “Fall Risk!”, they shout at any staff or passersby. Somewhere along the lines some crafty individual figured out that if we could just hold onto these folks we could hopefully avoid any untimely collisions with the floor and thus the gait (transfer) belt was born. 

These belts secure around a person’s waist, or in certain circumstances when that area is unavailable, around the upper chest and provides a place for a caregiver or attendant to grasp the person and both steady them and provide a point of leverage to help with transfers. The Cloth Gait Belt secures around the torso and is secured with a buckle mechanism that consists of teeth to hold the belt securely in place. These can be easy to locate but not necessarily easy to clean.

Click on the photo to see this in detail

Another option is the wipeable gait belt made of vinyl material that can be easily sanitized. This is an obvious benefit and may be best in some occasions. You can purchase one with a plastic clasp or metal teeth. I tend to prefer the metal teeth over the plastic clasp as I find it can be difficult to pull the belt tight enough and secure it using the plastic clasp. 

Finally, we have looped transfer belt which is constructed with a serious of loops attached along the length of the belt to allow a caregiver or family member to provide assistance with scooting, standing or transferring from, for example, a wheelchair.

Click on the photo to see how to purchase this or similar devices

Transfer boards

A simple yet genius piece of equipment. The transfer, or slide board as it is sometimes called, is typically a rectangular or oblong piece of wood or other plastic that helps to cover the gap that exists between two transfer surfaces. The space between the seat of a wheelchair and the seat of a toilet has never looked so vast until you are attempting to scoot over there and your legs aren’t helping much. 

Transfer boards come in various sizes and shapes but the basic concept remains the same. The board is somewhat slick to allow a person to slide more easily across its surface. It prevents the need to fully stand up and allows even persons with no functional use of their lower extremities to move between surfaces. One end of the board sits on the surface you are moving to and the opposite end get’s tucked under your bottom. If you have one of those fancy gait belts on someone can even help you to scoot across it. 

One piece of advice, (don’t ask me how I learned this the hard way) as tempting as it may be, do not loop your fingers through the handy dandy hand hold opening on the end of the board that you are sliding toward. Though it seems like a great way to get a firm grip, undoubtedly as your weight shifts onto that side of the board you will only succeed in smashing your fingers beneath the weight of your body. Just. Don’t. Do it. 

Click on these photos to see these boards in detail

Transfer Sheet

Much like the transfer board, the transfer sheet is a slippery piece of material whose primary goal is to move a person from here to there. These devices are primarily used to help reposition a person in bed without having to lift them. 

In one version of the transfer sheet there are actually Two sheets stacked on top of one another which are placed beneath the person by rolling them onto their side and tucking it underneath. By grasping the top sheet one can reposition the person on the bed as the top sheet slides easily across the bottom sheet thus reducing friction.

The second option is a Single transfer sheet with handles. This typically consists of a single sheet but is also placed beneath the person and used to more easily slide them laterally or up and down on the bed. 

Depending on the person and the device you may find it easiest to have a second person available to help.

Transfer Disc

A transfer disc or pivot disc allows a caregiver to transfer a patient between surfaces without them needing to take a step. Picture a lazy susan that you would put on the dining room table and spins 360 degrees to give everyone access to the goodies. Instead of on the kitchen table, however, this device sits on the floor in front of the person transferring and their feet are placed on the disc. As the person stands (partially or fully) the caregiver can direct the person’s hips toward the adjoining surface and their feet will simply come along for the ride as the disc turns. As one can imagine this device may pose a risk for falls if one does not control the transfer well so this is a good one to practice with the help of a trained professional first! 

Mechanical Lifts

Mechanical lifts come in many forms and brands. These are large in-home devices that typically consist of some sort of sling that is placed under the person being transferred which is then attached to a lift device overhead. The mechanical lift then raises the person up into the air and the device can be turned or moved throughout the house to reposition the person elsewhere such as in a chair or bed. As you can imagine these devices are costly, take up quite a bit of space and require appropriate training to use safely but some insurance plans may pick up all or part of the cost of the device and can make the difference between someone living comfortably with their loved ones in their home or in a skilled nursing facility. For insurance authorization a physician’s prescription is most likely always necessary. Make sure to do your research or talk with a DME company to determine which device is appropriate for you.

These devices are appropriate for individuals that require more than 75% assistance for transfers or who aren’t able to safely or effectively bear weight through their legs. Here are several examples of mechanical lift devices and you can click on them to see these devices and similar ones in detail.

Stand Assist Devices

The final device we are going to talk about today is a category of equipment called a stand assist device. These can be electric or manual and provide assistance to pull a person up into standing. The manual devices such as the Lumex Stand Assist Patient Transport Unit roll in close to the person and provide a set of handles from which they can pull themselves into standing and block the lower legs to keep the knees from buckling. Typically, some type of seat is available to flip behind them and then they can rest into the seat. These devices are on wheels so once the person is secured in the device it can be moved throughout the home as necessary. The electric devices look similar in design except a sling is placed behind the individual and the electronics of the device lift the person into standing for those that do not have the strength to pull themselves up. These devices may also be covered by insurance and would need a prescription from a physician. For an example, check out the Graham-Field Lumex Sit-to-Stand Battery-Powered Patient Lift 


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “STEADI—Older Adult Fall Prevention.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/steadi/. Accessed 16 10 2020.