Dressing during stroke recovery

For many people, a stroke means suffering from partial paralysis or losing range of motion in arms and legs. Dressing after a stroke can be a challenging feat that can leave you feeling frustrated and tired.

If you have weakness on a specific side of your body or have lost significant range of motion, you may find the following tips useful:

Dressing with weakness on one side

  • Let your “good arm” do the work.

  • Use the arm that is still mobile to put on clothing, starting with the affected side first. To undress, start by taking off your clothes from the unaffected side. 
  • Choose roomy clothes and slippery or silky fabrics. 
    • Make sure your clothes are loose enough so you have room to maneuver. Breathable fabrics that easily slide on your skin will make it a lot easier to dress.
  • Prepare your outfit before dressing. 
    • Always look to minimize stress wherever possible – preparing your outfit beforehand will allow you more time to dress.
  • At the beginning of your recovery, dress while sitting. 
    • Balance can be tricky at the beginning, so make sure you find a comfortable place to sit – chair, bed, sofa, or wherever you can have both feet on the floor (balance) and have enough room to move around while putting on clothes.

Below are also some quick tips with common challenges:

Shirts and jackets

  • Choose slippery  or non-iron fabrics.
  • Use down time to practice buttoning and unbuttoning on a button up shirt.
  • Put your affected arm in the sleeve first. 
  • Start buttoning from the bottom part and work your way up.

Socks and shoes

  • Sit down. Put your foot on an elevated surface.
  • At the beginning use slip-on shoes. Make sure these make you feel safe and balanced. 
  • Use Velcro closures in place of shoelaces to make it easier to dress.

Jewelry and accessories

  • Wear bracelets that can be slipped onto your arm. 
  • Clip-on earrings are easier. 
  • Use gadgets or tricks to make it easier to put on clothes, like attaching a string to a zipper.
  • If you can adapt your clothing, velcro is a great alternative to buttons and shoelaces.
  • Clip-on ties are easier to put on and take off.
  • A front-closure bra will be easier to use than regular or pullover ones.



Written by : Tristan Carroll, RN March is National Nutrition Month. It’s a great time to start thinking about your nutrition habits and overall lifestyle

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