Eating and drinking equipment

If you find it difficult to drink or to prepare and eat meals, it's worth considering specialist items that could help.

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If you have reduced grip, weakness or tremor, it can be difficult to handle cutlery. Several specially designed styles are available, including:

  • an all-in-one knife and fork
  • an all-in-one fork and spoon
  • special handles that are extra-large, easy-grip (moulded rubber), extra-light or weighted
  • curved foam sleeves, which can be placed over existing cutlery handles to make them easier to hold
  • cutlery that can be bent to suit different grips

You can usually buy specially designed cutlery in high street mobility shops. If possible, experiment with the different types to see which you find helpful.

If you experience stiffness and rigidity, you may find that extra large or curved-handled cutlery works best for you. If you have a tremor you may prefer the combined fork and spoon or a heavier item, or utensils with moulded rubber handles for extra comfort.

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If you have difficulty gripping things, a curved-handled or rocking action knife can be used for chopping food. The handle is D or L-shaped to help give you more control.

They come in various sizes and the handles are usually made from easy-grip material.

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Plate guards can stop food from falling off the edge of your plate. They clip onto the plate and provide an upright ring around it. You can also push food up against the guard to get it onto your fork or spoon.

They come in different sizes, colours and materials but generally fasten to the plate edge, acting as a barrier. Some are positioned about an inch in from the outer edge of the plate, but these can decrease the usable area of the plate.

Some people prefer styles made of sturdy materials that are easier to wash.

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If you have a tremor, using a sip or sports cup with a lid will help stop liquids from spilling. Some people use a hydration system that connects a bottle of drink by a short narrow hose (usually used by cyclists and other sports people) so that sips can be taken when you want, with very little effort.

Nosey cups have a section cut out on one side, opposite the position of the mouth when drinking. The cut-out allows the person drinking to tilt and drain the cup more easily with limited neck movement. These cups are made of plastic so are only suitable for cold drinks.

Sip and nosey cups come in different sizes, colours and shapes, and may or may not have handles. If the sip cup is being used for hot drinks, it’s important to make sure it's made of a material that won’t soften or melt.

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You can place a mat made of a special tacky material under a plate or bowl to stop it from moving around while you eat. This can be especially useful if you have limited mobility in one arm and find yourself chasing your plate across the table.

Non-slip mats can also be used on a tray to stop cups sliding during carrying, and between a mixing bowl and a work surface to stop the bowl moving.

Non-slip mats come in a range of colours. They may be pre-cut in placemat styles, or you can buy the material by the metre and cut it to the size you need.

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A kettle tipper lets you pour boiling water out of the kettle without lifting it up, which reduces the risk of spills and burns. They are usually designed to cradle your kettle, and can be used on different common teapot or kettle styles. Check compatibility with your kettle before purchasing.

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Water dispensers are used for dispensing boiling water without a kettle or saucepan. They allow you to fill a cup or mug with a pre-measured, cup-sized amount of boiling water. These are fairly easy to use, but must be filled manually and only supply small amounts of boiling liquid at a time.

Built-in hot water taps are a more effortless yet expensive option, and need to be installed and connected to a water supply. A built-in tap can be used for dispensing larger quantities of boiling water, without having to refill a dispenser. This allows for easy access to as much boiling water as you need.

Last updated May 2017. We review all our information within 3 years. If you'd like to find out more about how we put our information together, including references and the sources of evidence we use, please contact us at [email protected].