How to Find Assistive Dining Aids for the Disabled

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How to Find Assistive Dining Aids for the Disabled

Disabled people who have difficulties feeding or drinking independently typically wish they could achieve more dining independence. As a caregiver, introducing adaptive dinnerware not only can make your own job a bit easier, but doing so can give your disabled patient or loved one a degree of freedom and power that they may not have felt for quite awhile.


  • 1

Investigate your options in adapted dinnerware for the disabled. For the Handicapped, eating can be a real problem. Food often refuses to stay on the plate; plates and bowls slide around; and food gets mixed up within the plate. These problems are instantly solved with adaptive dinnerware.

Disabled folks who have difficulties eating love these wonderful aids. Rolling peas, sliding asparagus, and slipping spinach are all kept in check and corralled by special scooper plates. These scoopers have partial lips around the rim to prevent food from sliding off. But special plates are not always necessary. A wide variety of bumpers and guards are available that slip or clip onto nearly any type of plate to perform the same function as the scooper plates.

  • 2

Try out Non-Skid Bowls and Plates. A good companion to the scoopers and plate guards mentioned above, non-skid plates are another favorite among disabled people who have difficulties feeding themselves independently.

Essentially, there are three ways to keep plates and bowls from moving under the force of a eating utensils: mats, suction bases, and gripper feet. Mats and gripper feet provide a good margin of safety, employing a very “grippy” (but not at all sticky) non-slip material to keep sliding plates and bowls to a minimum. If hand tremors are an issue, then the only true way to actually adhere a plate or bowl to a table is suction-based bowls and plates that will not move at all.

  • 3

Assess the need for weighted utensils. Who would ever think that weighted utensils could be so valuable to the disabled? But if you have problems with hand tremors, you can easily see the value in such assistive aids. Weighted knives, forks, and spoons are available which help hold trembling hands steady when eating. If you don’t want to buy a special set of utensils, your own utensils can be inserted into weighted holders that have a variety of functions–they can even be used for razors and toothbrushes.

  • 4

Shop around for utensil holders to assist the disabled who have a weak (or no) grip. Utensils can be hard to grip for any period of time. To assist spouses of disabled patients who cannot grip spoons, knives, and forks, there are clips and straps that do the holding for them. But it’s not always necessary to use clips and straps. Sometimes it’s enough just to “fatten up” the handles to make them easier to hold. Foam handles can be inserted on utensils to provide a sure grip, or there are ergonomically-shaped plastic holders that easily slip on and off. All clips, straps, and holders are so portable and easy to manage that they can be taken on the road and used with restaurant utensils.

things you’ll need:

  • Adapted Plates, Bowls, and Cups
  • Utensil Straps
  • Weighted Utensils
  • Non-Skid Dinnerware