Eating Aids

Eating Aids
Eating Aids

For those who have had a stroke, people with Parkinson’s disease, those living with arthritis, and many others, the simple act of eating may be difficult. But, there is a wide range of assistive eating devices, from easy-grip utensils to spill-proof cups, that can remove some physical obstacles to eating.

Adaptive Plates and Bowls

Several modifications can make plates easier to use.

  • Sectional plates are deep and divided into compartments by thin walls. This keeps foods separated and gives the diner a firm surface to scoop food against.
  • Plates with raised edges serve the same purpose but without the sections.
  • Scoop plates resemble a cross between a bowl and a plate, with a low, plate-like edge on one side and a tall, bowl-like edge.
  • Scoop bowls, like scoop plates, have one side that is higher and more curved than the other, reducing spills and splashes.
  • Non-slip plates and bowls rest on suction cups that hold them in place on the table.
  • Plate guards are free-standing barriers that can be added to any existing plate to give it a raised edge.
  • Food bumpers are similar to plate guards but clip onto the edge of the plate to keep them more secure.

Specialized Flatware and Cutlery

Silverware with oversized handles is a common type of assistive eating aid, but large handles are not the only style of adaptive flatware. Other opinions include:

  • Weighted silverware can be helpful for people with hand tremors. The weight can reduce tremors, making it easier to keep food on the flatware. Weighted silverware may have significant, easy-to-grip handles or may be indistinguishable from everyday flatware.
  • Oversized handles may be an option for people with a weak grip. In addition, handle adapters — usually made of foam tubing — can be added to existing flatware to increase the size of the handle.
  • Angled silverware can be helpful for people with a limited range of motion. Some brands may be adjustable, allowing you to increase or decrease the angle.
  • Utensil holders strap around the hand and provide support for those who have difficulty grasping without help.

Adaptive Drinkware

Don’t overlook drinkware when considering adaptive devices for eating. The simplest adaptations are glasses with tightly-fitting lids and built-in straws, but there are a few other possibilities, such as:

  • Cups with dual handles are more accessible to grip and control than tumblers or single-handled cups. Lids make spills even less likely.
  • Weighted cups, like weighted silverware, can help reduce tremors for people with Parkinson’s.
  • Regulated drinking cups dispense only small, regulated amounts of liquid, which can be helpful for people with dysphagia (difficulty swallowing).
  • "Nosey” cups have a cutaway section that accommodates your nose, allowing you to drink without tipping your head back. This can help reduce the risk of choking for people with dysphagia.
Although they’re not strictly eating aids, clothing protectors such as adult bibs may also be a good option for people with eating difficulties.

Adaptive flatware, non-slip plates, scoop bowls, and other assistive eating devices can help maintain independence and dignity for people who have difficulty feeding themselves. Visit SimplyMedical today and browse our selection.