Synapse email updates


What's in an update?

Synapse endeavours to keep you updated with the latest information and news. If you would like to receive our monthly E-newsletter, please fill out your information above and we can keep you in the know!


Get The Facts

Lifestyle aids: eating & drinking

Information Services

Lifestyle aids

Lifestyle aids: eating & drinking

A variety of lifestyle aids are available to assist people who have difficulty eating and drinking due to hand weakness, pain, stiffness, tremor, lack of coordination, or who are only able to use one hand.

It is important to be seated in a comfortable and supportive chair, and close to a table at the right height. Features of a good chair include a sturdy chair which has adjustable seat height, contoured backrest and armrest.


Sitting in a stable relaxed posture, within comfortable reach of food and drink items, enables better use of existing abilities. Tables with a cut out section further increase the seated person's stability, and decrease the requirement for extended reach.


Cutlery, handle adaptations & orthoses

Standard cutlery can be made easier to use by enlarging the handle with foam tubing or clay. Cutlery is also available with ready made built-up handles.


Angled knives enable a stronger grip and allow a sawing action to be used to cut food. Rocker knives enable people to cut food using one hand. Some knives combine the rocking knife action with a fork for entirely one-handed eating.


People with limited or no grasp can use a Velcro strap which wraps around the hand and also around the handle of a fork/spoon to hold it in place. Some straps have a pocket in the palmer section so the cutlery can be inserted and removed easily from hand or limb.


Spoons and forks with an angled shaft can assist those with limited arm movement to manipulate food into the mouth.


Standard cutlery can sometimes be bent for this purpose and the handle modified to suit their needs. Weighted cutlery may reduce spillage of food for individuals with tremors.


Plates & non-slip bases

A clip-on plate guard can be added to most plates to provide an edge to push against. This may help to prevent spills for people with coordination, tremor or vision issues, and may help to push food onto the spoon for people who can only use one hand.


A variety of non-slip materials are available or can be improved to prevent plates or cups slipping. This may be useful for people with tremor or lack of coordination, or for people with the use of one hand only.


Suction cups on the bottom of a plate or bowl may also be useful, and may hold items in place more firmly than many non-slip products.


Cups, beakers & straws

Two-handed mugs may be useful for some people, to lift or stabilize a cup. Weighted mugs can also be useful in reducing tremor. Lightweight cups can assist those with upper limb weakness and coordination problems.


Insulated mugs are useful to prevent burns, as well as to help keep liquids hot or cool.


An outward lip or flange at the base of a cup can assist to prevent spills. Another option is a separate base that the cup fits into.


Cups with a cut out section are useful for people unable to tilt their head backwards. They also prevent the rim of the cup pressing on the nose of a person with an uncontrolled bite reflex. Cut out cups also enable the carer to view the contents of the cup when giving someone a drink.


Straws eliminate the need to lift, hold and manipulate the cup in a coordinated way. Straws that feature a one-way valve reduce the effort required to draw fluids up through the straw, and are useful for people with difficulty sucking and swallowing.


Beakers or cups which feature a lid with a spout are useful for preventing spills and regulating the flow of liquid into the mouth. Cups with large handles may assist those with weak grasp by allowing them to place their whole hand through the handle.  

References and further information

Reproduced with permission from LifeTec. Visit their website at  for all their fact sheets.


Our partners