Giving Care: Senior & Disabled Caregiver Resource Blog

How to Make Life Easier with One Arm

a woman with her arm in a sling
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By photoshooter2015 /

Living with one arm in a world built for people with two arms and hands is not easy. Thankfully, there are tricks you can do and devices you can buy to make things a little less difficult. Here are seven tips for how to make life easier with one arm:

Invest in adaptive clothing.

Getting dressed is one of the most frustrating tasks to do with one hand, and having a sling or cast complicates things further. Regular clothes with buttons and other tricky closures simply need two hands to operate. Some assistive devices, such as one-handed button hooks, can make the process feasible, but are still time-consuming and frustrating to operate. Instead, you should consider getting adaptive clothing that is designed specifically to be donned with one hand. These clothes feature pull-on styles that skip closures altogether or employ innovative closures such as magnets to make it easy to get dressed with one hand. Shop our selection of adaptive clothing or check out our blog on one-handed dressing techniques.

Get slip-on shoes.

It’s possible to tie your shoelaces with one hand, but it’s difficult to learn and time-consuming as well. Instead, consider switching to slip-on shoes that don’t have closures, or shoes with adjustable Velcro tabs that you can easily operate with one hand. If you have laced shoes you are attached to, get some elasticized laces that you only have to tie once and then wear the shoe as a slip-on. Depending on your mobility, you might also find it helpful to get a long-handled shoehorn to help you put your shoes on.

Shop Adaptive Clothing Online

Buy special kitchen gadgets.

There are a plethora of kitchen gadgets designed for one-handed use. Some of the most popular devices are automated jar and can openers and cutting boards with stainless steel pins to hold things in place while you chop, but there are many different ones available to suit various needs. “Regular” automated kitchen products, such as electric mixers and automated vegetable peelers, will also make cooking easier on you.

a woman holding a dental floss pick
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By Seksun Guntanid /

Update your bathroom.

The kitchen isn’t the only room in your house that might need some updating. Lots of bathroom tasks are also difficult to navigate with one hand. For bathing, people find a sponge (sometimes mounted on a handle) is easier to use than a washcloth. Floss picks allow you to continue flossing even with one hand. If you dry your hair, then consider getting a hair dryer stand so you can use your hand to wield a comb, brush or other styling tool.

Buy non-slip silicone pads.

One of the most difficult things about living with one hand is not having an extra hand to stabilize an object while you work with it. To remedy this, get non-slip silicone pads and leave them on surfaces around your house such as kitchen counters, bathroom counters, nightstands and end tables. Then, whenever you need to open a jar or something else, you can use the silicone pad to hold it in place and prevent it from slipping.

Buy Men’s Elastic Waist Pants

Make some upgrades to your car.

You might still be able to drive your car, with a few modifications. A steering wheel knob will give you a better grip, especially during turns (it’s also great for people with arthritis or other limited mobility in the hands). If you have trouble working your lights or wipers, you may be able to get your vehicle modified so that the controls are on the floorboard and you can operate them with your foot instead of your hand. You might also be able to find an adapted vehicle that already has these controls built in instead of trying to find a mechanic to make the modifications for you.

a bottle of hand sanitizer next to a couple of medical masks
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By Maridav /

Keep hand sanitizer on you while traveling.

Unfortunately, some sinks in public bathrooms require two hands to operate: one hand to push down the button on the faucet while you wash your other hand. Obviously, this isn’t an option if you only have one hand, so it’s a good idea to keep hand sanitizer on you while traveling or running errands. Look for the pump style bottles, which will be easier to operate with one hand as compared to the squeeze bottle.

Ready to make getting dressed the easiest part of your day? Shop adaptive clothing for both men and women here at Silverts, including men’s elastic waist pants and women’s duster house dresses. Order today and get free shipping on your U.S. order in the lower 48 states!

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