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The following are some tips for people who have the use of one hand only

Dressing

Bathing

Nail Care

Oral Care

Eating and Drinking

Kitchen tips

Other tips

Recommended Reading

Dressing

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The stroke dressing technique - Always dress your weak side first and when undressing take the clothes off the weak side last.

  • Choose clothing with Velcro and snap fasteners, rather than buttons or zips.
  • Bras- Putting on a bra can be one of the most difficult and frustrating things to do using one hand. Over the head/sports bras and front tying bras are easier to put on and take off. Replacing fasteners with Velcro can also make things easier.
  • As a general rule loose fitting clothes are easier to put on and take off as they allow more room for manoeuvring.
  • Slip on or Velcro fastening shoes are preferable to those that tie with laces, however elastic shoe laces can make it easier to put on and take off shoes and trainers.
  • A button hook is a useful device which allows the user to tie buttons using one hand.
  • Hook or clip earrings are much easier to put on than earrings with backs.
  • During cold weather it is easier to wear a mitt on your affected hand. Gloves can be awkward and time consuming to put on.

 

Bathing

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  • A long handled bath sponge allows you to wash under your unaffected arm and other difficult to reach areas e.g. your back.
  • Flip-top bottles and tubes are easier to use and are less likely to spill than regular bottle tops.
  • Drying yourself with a towel can be difficult using one hand so it might be useful to invest in a terrycloth bathrobe which will help dry the difficult to reach areas.
  • A wall mounted hair dryer holder makes drying hair much easier as your unaffected hand is free to do the styling.
  • If your time and budget allows, treat yourself to a hairdresser’s appointment as this will take the stress out of styling your hair.

Nail Care

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  • It is very important to look after the fingernails on both hands.
  • Emery boards can be used to keep your nails short and neat and are easy to use for both hands.
  • For cutting longer nails, nail-clippers are easier to use than scissors.
  • A nail brush with suction that allows it to stick to your wash basin are much easier to use one-handed, you simply have to rub your finger nails over the brush.

Oral Care

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  • Flip-top toothpastes are easier to use than those with screw caps.
  • To put toothpaste on the toothbrush, lay the brush on the sink and squeeze the toothpaste onto it.
  • Electric toothbrushes are easy to operate using one hand.
  • Dental floss is difficult to use single-handedly, so buy some plastic disposable flossers instead, as they are used with one hand only.

 

Eating and Drinking

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  • A piece of non- sip mat like Dycem is invaluable in the kitchen. It can be used as a placemat under a plate to prevent it from slipping and will stabilise a jar to allow for one-handed opening.
  • Plate guards/surrounds can be useful in preventing food from falling off the edge of the plate.
  • There are many varieties of adapted cutlery on the market e.g. a two-in-one knife and fork such as nelson knife or a rocker knife.

 

Kitchen tips

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  • Food preparation systems or spike boards make chopping and peeling vegetables easier.
  • Buy cans and tins with ring-pulls where possible. Wall mounted electric tin openers are easier to use than manual tin openers.
  • Buttering boards make buttering toast and bread easier.
  • There is a wide variety of bottle and jar openers available.
  • Milk and juice cartons can be very difficult to open. Buy cartons with plastic spouts/openers wherever possible. Cartons that need to be torn open should be avoided.
  • A kettle-tipper can make lifting and pouring your kettle easier.
  • After washing dishes allow them to air dry where possible instead of towel drying.

 

Other tips

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  • Holding and reading a book or newspaper can be very difficult using one hand. There are various types of book stands/holders now available in shops.
  • The easiest way to read the newspaper is to sit at a table or desk and lay the paper out flat in front of you.
  • It is possible to pursue many hobbies and interests using one hand. Devices such as card shufflers are widely available.
  • Many people return to playing golf or pitch and putt using one hand.
  • For office/computer work, one-handed keyboards are easier to use single-handedly than regular keyboards.

 

Recommended reading

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“One-Handed in a two-Handed World” by Tommye-Karen Mayer.

Published by Prince Gallison Press 2001.

ISBN 0-9652805-1-9


 
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