If you are taking care of an elderly loved one who is recovering from a stroke or other debilitating medical condition, you are probably aware of the challenges that can arise when he or she eats or drinks. Many of these problems can be reduced or even eliminated when you provide the necessary eating aids to help maximize independence during mealtime. Here are some eating aids and cups that can help make mealtimes more pleasant for your love one.
Conditions such as arthritis, muscle weakness and poor circulation can weaken a person's grip, leading to difficulty when grasping a fork, spoon or knife. Built-up utensils make it comfortable for the individual to grip on to the handle, as they are oversized and ergonomic. Built-up utensils are also bendable so that people can easily grab their food. The handles are usually textured so that the utensils are less likely to slip out of weak hands; some even have hand straps.
Dysphagia refers to difficulty swallowing that can occur after a stroke, in those with Parkinson's disease, neurological disorders or any illness that affects the muscles in the throat. A dysphagia cup typically has a weighted base that makes it easy for the liquid to be directed to the individual's mouth.
These types of cups have large openings that allow the person with swallowing difficulties to sip without having to tilt his or her head back too much, which can be painful for those with musculoskeletal problems or pain. Dysphagia cups also reduce the likelihood of drooling when drinking, which can help eliminate dignity and self-esteem issues associated with oral dribbling.
Suction plates stay firmly anchored to the table while your loved one is eating, which prevents the plate or bowl from slipping around. These plates are ideal for people with muscle tremors, and helps ensure that mealtimes are mess-free.
The dishes are usually partitioned so that pureed or soft foods won't run together, which can be unappealing or upsetting for those with cognitive deficits. The bowls and plates are usually constructed with extra depth and wider rims which help individuals with coordination problems get their food onto the utensils easier.
Contact a medical supply company to find out which eating and drinking aids would be most suitable for your loved one. If the person you are caring for still has trouble eating and drinking despite using the recommended aids, physical or occupational therapy may help improve coordination and strength. Contact a company like YOUCAN TOOCAN, Inc. to purchase eating and drinking aids.