Difficulty Pulling Up Pants? Five Tips to Help
It’s a Big Life Change when Pulling Up Pants Becomes a Chore
For many people, pulling up their pants can be a daily struggle, especially for those with limited mobility, arthritis, those who use a wheelchair or other mobility aid. For some, this difficulty could be temporary due to a recent medical procedure. But with a few simple tips and tricks, this task can become much easier and more manageable.
If you’re reading this article because you believe your loved one - a spouse, parent, grandparent or someone else - needs some help, this article is for you. If you yourself are looking for some help - good news - you’ve come to the right place!
It’s not easy seeking out help for a task that you or your loved one might have been completing independently for decades. So the below practical tips are very important, but it’s also important to think about the emotional aspect that comes with not being able to easily dress independently. So before you print out this article and pass it on to Grandpa, please think about the most compassionate, empathetic way you can help and share this information. Because let’s face it, if you share it in a way that they don’t like, they won’t listen.
People are usually a lot more receptive to help when you can meet them where they’re at. If they’re embarrassed to talk about this stuff, don’t lay it on too heavy and try to find a time where you can gently share this, bit by bit. But of course, if dressing has been creating a danger - whether they are at increased risk of falling, or are avoiding other behaviors like going to the bathroom or leaving the house - then it’s important to see what can be done to make this situation better as soon as possible. If dressing just takes them an extra long time, that might be ok! It’s not a race, and as you’ll see below, we even encourage older adults to slow down to ensure that dressing remains safe.
According to physical therapist Dr. Jennifer Solomon, "Mobility issues can make simple tasks, like pulling up pants, difficult and uncomfortable. But with the right strategies and tools, these challenges can be overcome."
This article provides five expert tips that can help you pull up your pants with ease and reduce back strain. Whether you're looking for the right type of pants to wear or seeking assistance from a dressing aid, we've got you covered.
Tips for Pulling Up Pants (Safely and Easily)
So, let's get started on overcoming this daily struggle and taking back control of your independence.
Choose the Right Pants:
The type of pants you wear can greatly impact your ability to pull them up. Look for pants with a stretchy waistband that will allow for more movement and flexibility. Additionally, avoid pants made of heavy, stiff fabric that may be difficult to maneuver. Instead, opt for lightweight, breathable material that won't stick to your skin.
Even better, choose a pair of pants designed to specifically make pulling them up easier. Adaptive pants, also known as “pull-on” pants, are modified to improve the dressing experience. Some of these pants include side zippers to open them up more at the waist. This enhancement makes it easier to both step into the pants and pull them up since there’s less friction than with tighter pants. It’s a lot easier to not only pull them up, but to then secure the pants around your waist. Many pull-on pants even include loops or handles that you can easily grab, which eases the process of pulling them up. You can even find a pair of pull-on pants that are jeans!
Use a Dressing Aid to Make Pulling Up Pants Easier:
A dressing aid, such as a “reacher” tool, can be a lifesaver for those with limited mobility. These tools feature a long handle that allows you to grab onto the waistband of your pants and pull them up with ease. Many reacher tools are designed to be lightweight and easy to use, making them a convenient solution for anyone looking to make this task easier. Reachers are a great option for when you dress at home; but, if you need to lower your pants when you’re away from home, you likely won’t have your reacher in hand. This is one of the reasons why adaptive pants, with loops or handles, are such a great choice.
Stand Up Gradually
When pulling up your pants after sitting, it's important to avoid sudden movements that can strain your back or cause dizziness. Instead, try to rise gradually from a seated position, using your arms to push yourself up from the chair. This will help you avoid putting unnecessary stress on your back and make it easier to pull up your pants.
Use a Chair or Countertop
If you're struggling to pull up your pants without straining your back, try using a chair or countertop for support. Place one hand on the chair (make sure it’s very sturdy first!!) or countertop to help steady yourself, and use your other hand to pull up your pants. This maneuver can take some of the strain off your back and make it easier to complete this task. Another great aid would be a raised toilet seat. A raised toilet seat allows you to more easily sit down. Add in a Squatty Potty or a stool for your feet, and then this can become a great location for you to pull on your pants.
Go Slow, Stay Consistent:
It can be frustrating that a daily task that once was simple has become a chore. But this is where you’re at, and that’s just fine. Simply remember to take it, literally, one step at a time, without rushing the process. The last thing you want to do is move too fast and injure yourself in a new way. And once you have a routine set, stick with it. The more you do it, the easier it’ll get.
By following these tips, you can make pulling up your pants a more manageable task and reduce the strain on your back. Don't be afraid to experiment to find what works best for you. Remember to listen to your body and take breaks if you need to.
If you’d like to find some additional dressing tips, you can check out the following articles: