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Most people take eating for granted. But some individuals, especially the elderly and very young, need assistance when they eat. Older people with arthritis and those with neurological problems may have problems holding utensils or picking up a cup to drink liquid. At the other end of the age spectrum, when babies start to eat solid food, more of the food may end up in their lap than in their mouth. Fortunately, there are eating aids that can help.
Arthritis in the hands and fingers makes it difficult to properly grasp utensils. As people age, arthritis is an increasingly common problem that makes it hard to do simple things, even eat a meal. Are there ways to make eating a meal less challenging? Fortunately, there are.
What about utensils? Built-up forks with thicker handles are easier to grasp and hold. Finger loop utensils are another eating aid designed for people who have difficulty grasping and holding traditional utensils. These utensils are designed with a loop on the stem of the utensil. When the user grasps the fork they slip their finger through the loop to keep the fork stable in their hand. Such utensils give people with disabilities greater control and confidence when they eat a meal. This leads to fewer spills.
For spills that do occur, large bibs with vinyl backings help protect clothing against stains and discoloration. It's easy to slip these bibs on and off and many have a built-in crumb catcher to catch food that misses its mark. This makes clean-up easier. These bibs and clothing protectors are machine washable and come in a variety of sizes.
For couch-side meals or hobbies, an able tray comes with an attached ergonomically-designed handle that's easy to grasp. Grasping the handle makes it easier to rise from a couch or chair without falling. It's adjustable to meet the needs of people of all heights and is ideal for those with decreased strength, back or hip pain or poor balance.
Opening a stubborn jar lid can be challenging for anyone but it's even more demanding for people with arthritis. A silicone hand protector makes grasping jar lids and other slippery items easier so lids are easier to open with less stress on the hands. Many of these handy protectors are also helpful for grasping hot or cold objects.
When kids eat, things can get a little messy. A vinyl-backed small clothing protector guards a child's clothing from spills so they can enjoy their food without staining their clothing. Best of all, a child won't mind wearing one because it doesn't look like a bib. Keep wipes made for children and babies around to clean sticky fingers and dirty mouths after a meal. They're gentle enough to use on a baby's delicate skin but strong enough to get the job done.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication as they may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking these products. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.