According to the American Public Health Association (AJPH), only 31 percent of elderly Americans 65 and older could perform personal care activities daily without assistance from caregivers or adaptive devices. AJPH went on to say that the other 69 percent did require assistance from a caregiver or an adaptive device for their daily personal care. The type of adaptive personal care device needed varied. It depended upon the activity performed.
Likewise, the type of assistance from a caregiver depended on the activity performed and the type of condition preventing the elderly person from performing that particular activity. For example, some of the elderly people 65 and older who participated in the study said they experienced difficulty eating. They may have experienced problems holding an eating utensil steady, keeping a plate or bowl from sliding, or drinking because of difficulty swallowing.
Types of problems with eating and drinking for the elderly
It’s not a secret that aging causes most elderly seniors to develop problems with their hands shaking. The popular name for this is essential hand tremors. Some develop problems grasping with their hands or experience weak hand dexterity, while others had problems with their finger joints due to Arthritis or some other condition affecting the hands.
Many elderly seniors also develop problems with swallowing or a condition called dysphagia. The National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders reports that although dysphagia or swallowing disorders are due to medical conditions associated with strokes, neurological disorders, and head or neck surgeries, problems swallowing are also a result of aging. At least 20 percent of people over 50 and nearly all elderly seniors over 80 develop some swallowing difficulties. Age-related dysphagia normally occurs after losing teeth or restrictions to the airway. Since elderly people are more susceptible to pneumonia and other infections to the lungs that restricts the airway, they are more likely to experience aspiration when coughing immediately after swallowing.
Helpful eating and drinking devices for the elderly
There are other conditions elderly seniors develop due to aging that cause problems with eating and drinking. These conditions include diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and Dementia, in addition to upper extremity limitations that restrict normal hand and arm movement. Problems like these do not leave the elderly and people with special needs helpless. Below are some special devices designed to help maintain independence and self-reliance.
Adaptive eating utensils for elderly seniors and people with special needs
The adaptive eating and drinking aids introduced here are beneficial for elderly people and others living with any of the above conditions. Specialty products such as eating utensils with built-up handles help elderly people with weak hand dexterity or help people with poor grasping ability hold a fork, spoon, or knife with ease.
Heavily-weighted eating utensils like these KEatlery Stainless Steel Weighted Utensils are perfect for people with Parkinson’s essential hand tremors or uncontrollable shaking hands. The utensil’s weight helps to keep the hand steady so that the food will stay in place. Weighted utensils are available in regular stainless steel or with non-slip built-up handles for shaky hands and grasping difficulties.
Special plates and bowls with unique features for maintaining independence
There are a variety of non-slip or suctioned-based plates and bowls. Choose from Ableware raised inner lip plates with non-skid bottoms, scooper plates, and bowls in different shapes and colors with suction cup bases. The non-slip or suctioned-based features prevent the plate or bowl from sliding or skidding off the table, and the raised inner lip or scoop features assist the user with putting the food on their adaptive spoon or fork.
Drinking aids for dysphagia, whiplash, and other swallowing disabilities
Our unique drinking aids include adaptive aids like weighted mugs with spill-proof lids, whiplash nosey drinking cups, and drinking aids for dysphasia, to name a few. These adaptive drinking devices are safe and easy to use. They allow the users to drink coffee, juice, or liquid meal without assistance from a caregiver.
Weighted mugs or weighted cups (pictured here) are available with your choice of the spill-proof lid or tube-shaped spout lid that snaps securely in place to prevent accidental spills. They help the user with essential hand tremors or Parkinson’s disease, hands to remain steady when drinking their favorite beverage. Both weighted cups and weighted mugs feature a steel weight inside, making the cups not safe for microwaving.
The nosey drinking cups feature a cut-out for the nose. This enables users with whiplash or users recovering from neck or head surgeries to drink without tilting or bending the neck back. The opening in these cups is a comfortable fit for the lip and nose. They are strong, dishwasher safe, made from translucent plastic, and available in 4, 8, or 12 ounces.
Another type of adaptive drinking aid is the Provale regulating drinking cup for dysphasia. The Provale Cup is the most popular dysphasia cup drinking cup. Users recovering from a stroke or experiencing other swallowing disorders can drink a fixed amount of fluids to prevent choking. This cup has a wide base to eliminate spilling over and two easy-to-grip handles for a comfortable hold. It is available in a cup size that holds 5 ccs or a cup size that holds 10 ccs of liquid food.
These are just a few adaptive eating and drinking aids available to help elderly seniors and people with special needs maintain their independence. Shop our full selection at The Elder Expo. For any questions or need for more information, please call 1.877.728.9507, Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm EST.