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Eating & Swallowing Helpful Hints

Eating/Drinking Helpful Hints

At some point, a person may have difficulty eating and drinking. Some of this difficulty is related to the weakness of the and swallowing muscles. Other difficulties are a result of weakening hand, arm and shoulder muscles. With chewing and swallowing weakness the patient must make changes in their dietary consistency meaning they have to eat softer foods and avoid thin liquids. This section deals with adaptive equipment that will help those who are still able to eat and drink on their own.

Eating utensils

Finger and hand atrophy or weakness may make it difficult to hold a conventional knife, fork or spoon. Utensils with built-up handles are much easier to use. There are several varieties on the market, but I prefer the ones called Good Grips.

Use plastic plates that will not break when you drop them. Special plates with raised edges make it easier to eat. You can push the food against the edge to make it easier to get it on your fork. Make sure any plates that you buy are microwave safe.

Cups or mugs with handles are easier to grab. Plastic cups are the best. The plastic travel mugs with lids work great. If you happen to tip over or drop one of these mugs, you end up spilling a lot less liquid.

Straws are essential when it becomes too difficult to lift a cup to your mouth. Straws are also helpful to drink with your chin tucked down, which helps prevent aspiration and choking. There are some straws with clear plastic tubing with a wider diameter opening which requires less effort to drink more which are used by ahospital x-ray department for patients who had to swallow barium prior to x-ray. Check with your local radiologist or hospital to see if you can obtain some of these straws or if they will order some for you.

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