Drive Cares

life after a stroke

Jeanette, a divorcee living alone, was only 58 when she suffered a stroke. Luckily, the stroke was minor and she sought treatment early, so she was able to resume her active and independent lifestyle with only minor adjustments.  Jeanette’s stroke left her with some residual weakness and impairment to her right side—her dominant hand—and certain activities of daily living that require fine motor skills, especially dressing herself, were now difficult for her.

Most activities of daily living (ADLs) require the use of two hands. For anyone with weaker or impaired motor skills, like seniors or individuals with arthritis or other medical conditions, getting dressed can be one of the most challenging ADLs to accomplish without help. Like Jeanette, many people who have had strokes have full use of one hand, but weakness in the other prevents them from accomplishing the smaller tasks of dressing, such as closing snaps and buttons, and putting on shoes.

Fortunately, there are many medical products designed specifically to aid in ADLs, so that functional impairments need not mean the end of independent living.  Dressing aid products include items like extended shoe horns, sock and stocking aids, and buttoning and zipping devices, as well as things like reachers to help access items of clothing stored in high or low places, and swivel chairs to mitigate the effects of general weakness or range-of-motion issues.

Jeanette uses the following lifestyle products from Drive Medical’s “Lifestyle Essentials” line to dress herself with a minimum of time and frustration:

Dressing stick:  Helps individuals with a limited range of motion to pull on and push off clothes. It has two types of hooks to pull up pants and skirts, put on jackets and shirts, and remove socks.

Shoe horn:  Pulling up the heel of a shoe can be tricky even for those with unimpaired motor skills. Drive’s extra-long shoe horn prevents bending or stooping when putting on shoes, and it is designed not to snag socks or stockings.

Stocking aid:  Pulling up socks or stockings is one of the most difficult tasks of dressing, but Drive’s Lifestyle Essentials stocking aid allows the user to easily pull the sock or stocking up with minimal effort and without bending. Curved cut outs on the sides hold the sock open while it is being pulled up the leg.

Buttoning aid:  The buttoning aid  is a simple tool that provides an easier and faster way to button pants, trousers, shirts and blouses. Its 3/4″ diameter acrylic handle is easy to clean, durable, and ensures a comfortable grip.

Reacher:  A reacher helps eliminate bending and stretching. Its lightweight aluminum frame requires only 7 ounces of pressure on the trigger to close the jaws, and it folds flat for convenient storage.

Jeanette purchased the hand-held reacher because her right-side impairment made her feel unsteady on a stool or chair to reach items stored higher in her closet. “I’m only 5’3”,” Jeanette says, “and I can’t believe I never bought myself one of these even before the stroke. It would have saved me a lot of climbing up for things!”

With the assistance of her dressing aid products, Jeanette can get dressed in a fraction of the time it took her without them. She has been able to resume her work and her social activities, which in turn, has made a tremendously positive difference in her spirits, her healing capacity, and her overall quality of life.

“After my stroke, I was so afraid I’d need constant help with every little thing, especially getting dressed and taking care of my personal needs. These lifestyle essentials products are very simple things that have made the biggest difference in letting me keep my independence.”