Equipment for eating and drinking

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

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

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, for example.

You can usually buy specially designed cutlery in high street mobility shops. 

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.

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

If it takes you longer to eat a meal or drink a drink, an insulated dish or mug can keep your food and drink hot or cold. They are often weighted, which can help keep the items stable. 

These mats are made of a special tacky material and can be placed under plates or bowls to stop them moving around. 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 may be pre-cut in placemat styles, or you can buy the material by the metre and cut it to the size you need.

If you have a tremor, using a sip or sports cup with a lid can help stop liquids spilling. There are also cups with a rotatable handle that can help. 

Some people use a hydration system that connects a bottle of drink by a short narrow hose (usually used by cyclists) so sips can be taken with very little effort. 

Nosey cups have a section cut out opposite where you drink from that allows the person drinking to tilt and drain the cup more easily. These cups are made of plastic so are only suitable for cold drinks. There are also oval-shaped cups available that are designed to give sufficient nose clearance, and these are suitable for hot drinks. 

A speech and language therapist can recommend what type of cup may work for you. 

A kettle tipper lets you pour boiling water out of the kettle without lifting it up, which reduces the risk of spills and burns. Check your kettle will fit the tipper before buying one.

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 can be used for dispensing larger quantities of boiling water, without having to refill a dispenser. They can be expensive and need to be installed and connected to a water supply.

5 ways to stay safe in the kitchen

There are different specialist aids and equipment that can help you stay safe and avoid accidents while preparing food and drinks.

Last updated October 2020. 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]