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Archive for January, 2012

I was researching Multiple Sclerosis after a discussion about it with Himself. Like RA, MS is an autoimmune disease. Unlike RA, it is pretty much confined to the neurological system, but it wreaks havoc there. It inexorably progresses until the patient is pretty much bed-ridden. But I was fascinated to find an article that discussed in specific detail the kinds of daily accommodations people with MS must make. Many of those accommodations are things that would help those of us with RA. So I thought I would discuss these in a series of posts. This first one is about getting dressed, and the things we can do to adapt to decreasing coordination and strength.

  • Get dressed while sitting in a chair that has arm rests. This will help you keep your balance.¬†
    • Note from Turtlemom: this will also give you a place to rest your arms to reduce fatigue.
  • Roll from side to side to get pants over your hips. You can do this while sitting in a chair or lying down on your bed.
  • Wear clothes that are loose-fitting and have elastic waistbands.
  • Choose wrap-around clothing instead of the pull-over type. Also choose clothing that opens in the front, not the back.
    • Note from Turtlemom: Finding bras that fasten in the front – that actually fit and give support – is very difficult. Especially for those of us who are, shall I say, “over-endowed.” I have gone through one brand and style after another. My search continues…
  • Wear clothing with large, flat buttons or use Velcro closures.
    • Note from Turtlemom: I’m not to the Velcro closure stage, yet. I do have jackets and coats with large buttons – they make a BIG difference!
  • Use a buttonhook to button clothing.
    • Note from Turtlemom: As I mainly wear tee shirts and other over-the-head shirts, this is not a problem, as yet.
  • If you have shoulder weakness, use a dressing stick to get your coat or shirt on and off.
    • Note from Turtlemom: This I may have to invest in during 2012.
  • Use a zipper pull or attach a leather loop on the end of the zipper to zip pants or jackets.
    • Note from Turtlemom: OR, use elastic-waist pants and skirts. I do have a loops either of leather or braided thread or string on the two jackets that have zippers.
  • Use devices such as a sock aid and a long-handled shoehorn for additional assistance.
    • Note from Turtlemom: Now, I do have a Carex Sock Aid that I got through Amazon that I use during flares. I will say that it was especially helpful for about the first 5 weeks after¬† I had my knee replaced back in September 2011. With me mostly wearing Crocs, I usually don’t need a long-handled shoehorn. Occasionally, though, I wear athletic shoes, and I use elastic shoelaces and my long-handled shoehorn (purchased from my local Red Wing Shoes Store) at those times.

I can do many things myself with just a little assistance from the ingenious devices available from the many suppliers that abound on the internet and through paper catalogs. Here are a few of my favorites:

The Wright Stuff (Daily Living Aids Page)

Allegro Medical (Dressing Aids Page)

Buck and Buck

Disability Products (Dressing Aids Page)

Last, but not least, there is Amazon.com! They have an amazing amount of disability assistance products in their Health & Personal Care section.

I will admit that the clothing leaves a lot to be desired. The women’s clothing is all big flower prints or in “little old lady” colors. But looking at the adaptive methods used, I can get my daughter or one of her “sewing friends” to make one for me. I can go to little craft shops and find things to use to attach to zippers that I can grasp and pull. There are also hooks I can use to attach the pulls.

Joann’s,

Hobby Lobby,

and Michael’s

are all good sources, and the people there are friendly and helpful.

One last thing – check the non-disability websites, too. Their products are considerably cheaper, and the products usually don’t look like the disability clothing lines – more stylish, etc. I would only get the more expensive disability clothing if I couldn’t find anything more stylish and, perhaps, less expensive, that could be adapted.

Please let me know of adaptations you use when getting dressed!

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