Getting older is not easy for everyone because it sometimes becomes a challenge for the elderly to accomplish even the simplest tasks, such as eating meals on their own. It’s because when a person ages, coordination becomes difficult. In addition to that, other seniors are suffering from health conditions like Parkinson’s, which makes it even more complicated to eat alone.
Seniors who have coordination problems and those who are suffering from Parkinson’s may find it difficult to eat on their own as they usually experience hand tremors and stiffness in their muscle movement. For instance, when they use a spoon when trying to eat soup, it often spills due to the hand tremor that they can’t control. Also, the inability to hold utensils unshakable makes it more difficult for them to put the food in their mouth.
Other elderly people, even though they do not suffer from Parkinson’s disease and other similar health conditions, have weak hands due to old age, which also makes it challenging for them to hold eating utensils. Some of them may have broken plates and glasses as they couldn’t hold them well. These scenarios may cause seniors to lose weight as they are unable to enjoy eating. It may also lead to embarrassment and frustration, particularly when eating in restaurants and other places.
Luckily, there is now a wide variety of dinnerware that patients with weak hands or those who experience hand tremors may use in order to eat with ease. These types of dinnerware are specialized and made particularly for people who have problems eating. If you are curious about these, we are here to help you. In this post, we are giving you a guide to selecting adaptive dinnerware.
What is Adaptive Dinnerware?
Eating is very important for everyone, as we simply cannot survive without it. It is essential for seniors to eat healthy meals every day. While many of them enjoy eating whenever and wherever they want, some seniors do not share the same liberty due to certain health conditions like arthritis, Parkinson’s, dementia, sensory sensitivities, and more, which makes eating on their own difficult. But in such cases, there are tools that can be used to support them and help them eat with ease. Among these is the use of adaptive dinnerware.
Adaptive dinnerware is designed to allow people with unique needs to eat independently. These include special plates and eating utensils like forks, knives, and spoons that are uniquely designed to fit the needs of people who have weak, arthritic hands and those who are suffering from hand tremors.
Some adaptive dinnerware is weighted to help stop tremors, while others feature an attached handle or strap that may help stabilize the hand and improve grip. Some plates and bowls feature handles, lids, and higher sides to help in scooping foods and preventing spills. This dinnerware may help seniors enjoy the food as much as others do every day.
Benefits of Using Adaptive Dinnerware
Adaptive dinnerware is designed for people who have physical, cognitive, and sensory limitations that make it challenging for them to use traditional dinnerware. They are made to make their mealtimes more comfortable and enjoyable. Below are the different benefits that adaptive dinnerware may provide:
Improved Grip and Stability
Adaptive dinnerware are made with features like easy-grip handles, weighted bases, and non-slip materials, which can aid people with physical limitations in maintaining a better grip on their plates and utensils. These features can all help in reducing their risk of spills and accidents while eating on their own.
Through the use of adaptive dinnerware, individuals who have disabilities, cognitive limitations, and sensory sensitivities will be able to control their food and utensils better. With this, they can become more independent during mealtime.
Reduced Mealtime Stress
Dinnerware that is adaptive may also help people struggling with the use of traditional dinnerware feel more comfortable and confident when it is time to eat. These tools may help reduce the anxiety and stress associated with eating on their own.
Most adaptive dinnerware are made of materials that are easy to clean and maintain. With this, the risk of cross-contamination and infection will be reduced when seniors and other people with disabilities use them. In addition to that, since adaptive dinnerware helps in preventing spills and accidents when eating, there will be less mess to deal with.
There are a wide variety of colors, designs, and styles available for adaptive dinnerware. Adaptive plates and utensils may come in various patterns and shapes, which makes them more appealing to use. The aesthetic appeal of these dinnerware helps in creating a positive dining experience for seniors and people with physical, cognitive, and sensory limitations.
Adaptive dinnerware is designed with safety in mind. Their goal is to help the elderly in reducing their risk of slips, spills, and other accidents while eating. Aside from that, caretakers and family members will also feel more at ease during mealtimes as they can ensure that their loved ones are using safe and comfortable adaptive dinnerware.
Things to Consider When Choosing Adaptive Dinnerware
If you are thinking of buying adaptive dinnerware for your elderly loved ones, there are a lot of options to choose from today. However, it may sometimes feel challenging to pick which of them is the best. To help you, below are some of the important things that you may consider in order to choose the perfect adaptive dinnerware that will cater to the needs of your loved one:
Before you go to stores or order adaptive dinnerware online, the first thing that you must do is assess the physical, cognitive, or sensory limitations of your loved one. Determine their condition, whether they have weak hands, arthritic hands, Parkinson’s, dementia, vision problems, and other issues. This way, you will be able to know what type of adaptive dinnerware will be best for them.
Type of Adaptive Dinnerware
It is also beneficial to learn about the various types of adaptive dinnerware available so you would know what options you have. Each of them has unique features that seniors and other people with disabilities will find helpful. Later on, we will discuss more of the different types of adaptive dinnerware.
When choosing adaptive dinnerware, it is important to check what materials were used in creating them. Most of the time, they are made from plastic, silicone, or melamine. Make sure that you consider the preferences of your loved ones and any potential allergies that they have in order to pick the best adaptive dinnerware material for them.
Design and Style
Adaptive dinnerware comes in different colors, shapes, and patterns. Therefore, it is also important to consider the personal preferences and style of the user in order to choose the best dinnerware for them.
Dishwasher and Microwave Safe
It is also essential to consider the needs of the individual and the practicalities of cleaning and maintaining the dinnerware. It is better if you can find adaptive dinnerware that is safe to be washed in the dishwasher and can be used in the microwave. This way, it will be easy for seniors to clean and maintain them.
Safety and Quality
When buying adaptive dinnerware, it is important to pay attention to its quality and safety. You need to make sure that the dinnerware pieces you will choose are designed with safety in mind and that they are made using only high-quality materials that do not include toxic elements.
Different Types of Adaptive Dinnerware
Now that you know the benefit of adaptive dinnerware and the important factors to consider when buying one, let us move on to the different types that are available in the market today. As we’ve mentioned earlier, it is important to consider the type of adaptive dinnerware to ensure that it will cater to the needs of your loved ones. But what are the types to choose from? To answer this, below are the different types of adaptive dinnerware and a few product recommendations to provide you with more ideas:
Adaptive Plates and Bowls
Adaptive plates and bowls may help solve eating problems that are commonly experienced by people who have coordination and motor skill issues. These types of dinnerware are designed to allow people with unique needs to eat independently. Most of them include features like non-skid surfaces and scoop rims, which make it easier for an individual to grasp and eat food with utensils. They can help them enjoy inclusive meals with less mess and boost confidence. Below are some examples of adaptive plates and bowls to help you choose:
Providence Spillproof Scoop Plate: Traditional flat plates can be difficult to use for people who have coordination and motor skill issues. That is why this plate features raised edges in order for the user to get the food from the plate to the utensil with just one motion. It also features a non-slip base that keeps the plate in place, making mealtimes easier and more enjoyable. It is made from sturdy polypropylene, and it is latex- and BPA-free. It can also be used in the microwave, and it is safe to be cleaned in the dishwasher.
Spill Proof Bowl with Handle: This bowl is perfect for the elderly with arthritis, hand tremors, and other conditions that make it challenging to hold a plate. It is a melamine dinner plate that features a handle in order to hold it in one hand easily. It is a hi-lo adaptive bowl that has a short front wall and increased height at the back. It allows the user to easily access food on the plate. It also has 4 non-slip rubber feet to keep it in place. It is made of food-safe plastic that is not breakable and resistant to heat. It is dishwasher-safe and BPA-free.
Partition Adaptive Plate: This plate has assistive features, such as an anti-slip, skid-proof base on the bottom to assist users while they eat. It has dividers that help the user scoop the food onto a fork or spoon. It is both dishwasher and microwave safe. It is perfect for individuals who have trouble eating.
High-Low Scoop Bowl with Suction Base: This bowl features deep sides, a wide rim contoured lip, and anti-skid rubber bottom, which makes one-handed eating easier. It has a suction cup base that keeps the bowl in place. It is durable and stain-free. It can also be cleaned in the dishwasher for more convenience. It is adaptive and perfect for seniors and other people with physical limitations.
Adaptive Eating Utensils
Adaptive eating utensils are specially designed spoons, forks, and knives. They are mostly made for people who are suffering from Parkinson’s disease and other similar conditions. Some of them are weighted, which can help stop tremors. Others have attached straps or handles for better grip and to help stabilize the hands. Below are some examples of adaptive eating utensils to help you pick:
Special Supplies Adaptive Utensils: This is a set of adaptive eating utensils that are wider and non-weighted. These are used to support people with hand tremors, Parkinson’s, or arthritis. Each of them features a wide handle to improve dexterity and control. They have food-grade safe silicone handles and are made with dishwasher-safe stainless steel. The set includes a fork, knife, curved knife, dinner spoon, and soup spoon.
Weighted Utensils for Hand Tremors: These weighted eating utensils are made from German dishwasher-safe stainless steel. They are made for those with hand tremors as they weigh more than traditional adaptive utensils. They can help relieve tremors, and these utensils can be twisted to any angle for a more comfortable experience. It comes with a cleaning brush and a portable roll bag.
Celley Adaptive Eating Utensils: This is another set of adaptive eating utensils. Each utensil weighs around 3 ounces, which is suitable for those who have limited muscle control, trembling hands, and arthritis. It includes one fork, one knife, one teaspoon, and one tablespoon. Each of them has a weight-support grip handle, making it easier and more manageable to hold and use for eating. It is made of high-quality stainless steel that is dishwasher safe.
Adaptive Drinking Cups and Glasses
Like adaptive plates and bowls, there are also adaptive drinking glasses and cups that are made for people suffering from Parkinson’s and other similar conditions. These glasses usually feature handles and rubber grips to make it easier for the user to hold and drink from. They also often have wider bases and lids to prevent spills. Below are some examples of adaptive drinking glasses to help you choose:
Rehabilitation Advantage Rije Adaptive Drinking Cup: This cup features a nose cutout to assist users who are unable to tilt their heads back when drinking. It has two large handles on the side to help the user grip the cup more efficiently. It is designed to enable the user to swallow the drink without spilling. It holds up to 8 ounces of liquid.
Rehabilitation Advantage Hand-in Mug Adaptive Drinking Cup: This adaptive drinking cup features a hand slot inside for easy handling. It can hold up to 16 ounces of liquid. It has a lid with a sliding lever that secures it shut to help prevent unwanted spills. It is ideal for people with limited hand control or grasp, tremors, spasticity, or arthritis. However, this cup can’t be used for hot drinks as it is not insulated.
Providence Spillproof Adult Sippy Cup with Handles: This sippy cup is carefully designed for adults. It helps reduce spills for the elderly, disabled, and bedbound. It is an easy-grip cup due to its two ergonomic handles. It also has a wide base for added stability. It can be used to drink a wide variety of warm or cold beverages. It can also be used to prepare soups and smoothies for patients who are unable to eat solid foods.
Dual-Handle Mug for Tremors: This is a ceramic mug that features two handles. It adds stability and better control for those who suffer from trembling hands and loose grips. It is perfect for seniors who have Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. It is made of sturdy ceramic that is BPA-free and latex-free. It is ideal for serving both hot and cold drinks. It is also dishwasher and microwave safe.
When eating independently becomes difficult for seniors, whether it is due to old age or other health conditions like arthritis, Parkinson’s, and dementia, the use of adaptive dinnerware may help. They are specifically made for conditions that make it hard to eat due to weak hands and tremors. There are a variety of dinnerware products available that are adaptive, which include adapted bowls, plates, cups, and eating utensils that help stabilize shaking hands to reduce spills and help promote independent eating among the elderly. Just ensure that you are considering the condition and personal preferences of your loved one when buying adaptive dinnerware for them. We hope this post helped you learn more about how to select adaptive dinnerware.
For more options, you may also check out our Guide to Selecting Assistive Devices for People Living with Parkinson’s Disease.