Self-determination thanks to eating and drinking aids
Self-determination thanks to eating and drinking aids
There are many reasons why a person has trouble eating or drinking, including tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease or neurologic symptoms caused by multiple sclerosis. Eating independently without the need for help is a pervasive need in all of us. It is usually not an issue if we have the right tools.
The Gripoballs and GripoFix can also be tested at REHACARE 2019. Guy Charles also reveals: "We have initiated a procedure to register the Gripoballs at the 'GKV Spitzenverband' in the list of refundable medical devices and hope to be able to officially announce its completion on site."
Eating and drinking independently in the company of others is so much more than mere food intake. "It is a celebration of hospitality, friendship, and togetherness. In other words, eating and drinking together builds social cohesion. It creates and strengthens human bonds," says Guy Charles, Managing Director of GRIPOBALLS. "Eating meals around a table makes people forge personal connections, makes them feel accepted and appreciated. Daily living aids like the Gripoballs and the GripoFix eliminate any differences and brings people together."
Gripoballs are small PVC balls that measure four centimeters in diameter, making it possible to widen the handles of standard eating utensils to allow a stronger and better grip. People with shaky hands can reduce tremors by weighing the Gripoballs down and adding up to five stainless steel balls at ten grams each.
The GripoFix is also designed to support independent eating and drinking: Users can slide the metacarpal strap onto the utensils or a glass to ensure a steady grip. The new transparent GripoFix warrants a discrete use in a restaurant for example.
Eating and drinking made easy
Whether you use them after a stroke or to help with muscle disorders – these daily living aids can be used by anyone. Children can take advantage of the mini Gripoballs that measure three centimeters in diameter. "Occupational therapists have repeatedly requested them, because they help children learn to develop fine motor skills and encourage a use in everyday life," says Charles.
Holding on to utensils and glasses is not the only challenge some users face. Torsten Dohmen, Managing Director of TalkTools GmbH attests that his customers often "struggle with bottles or cups with adaptive straws." The needed length often meant users had to generate and maintain suction to force liquids up through the straw. Some patients were literally out of breath during this process. "Since last year, we have an adaptive mounted drinking system with a non-return valve," says Dohmen. "It is right on the mouthpiece and keeps the liquid from flowing back into the cup. Liquids only have to be pushed up the straw a few centimeters."
The drinking hose with non-return valve from TalkTools ensures short suction distances and thus makes drinking easier.
The TalkTools product portfolio also features corresponding holder and mounting systems designed to facilitate independent use of the drinking aid at all times. The mounting systems can be attached to a table or wheelchair. Other options include bedside cup stands.
Dohmen says the systems are in high demand and garner positive feedback. "Liquid is more important than food in being the most essential nutrient for our bodies. Everyone talks about self-determination. We make sure that our customers are able to make it a reality when it comes to their fluid intake."
Technology promotes a self-determined life
The drinking aids Neater Drinker Thermo and Neater Steady Straw made by Neater Solutions Ltd. are systems that allow users to drink independently. "Both devices feature non-return valves that allow fluid capture at the mouth and reduce the need to pick up a cup and bend towards the straw to drink from it," explains Stephen Hill of Neater Solutions.
Users like the Neater Drinker Thermo because it has a 500 ml capacity and keeps hot drinks warm and cold drinks cool. Steady Straw is a great solution to transport a flexible straw to the mouth and allows users to use their own cups and glasses. "We also offer a wheelchair mountable version to assist fluid intake while driving in a wheelchair," says Hill.
Neater Solutions also has a variety of assistive eating technology devices such as Neater Eater Robotic V6. "This is a compact and lightweight robot that offers many programming options for cognitively able operators. Alternatively, it can be operated with a single command for less cognitively able users, to scoop with automatic plate rotation."
At the next REHACARE Neater Solutions Ltd. will have some highlights in store – the new mobile armrest technology and the latest developments around the Neater Eater Robotic V6.
Hill says that many REHACARE visitors are particularly drawn to the advances that are an integral part of technology. "Over the past 30 years, we have received very positive feedback and many customers have told us that our technology has changed their lives." This applies to the drinking aids, the Neater Eater Robotic V6, the Neater Arm Support, and many other products. The Arm Support is actually the second most popular solution for users with muscle weakness. The powered Arm Support enables users to effortlessly feed themselves and drink and supports many other daily activities.
"Eating and drinking aids promote self-determination skills of people with physical impairments or so-called learning disabilities by enabling them to perform different tasks, which in turn accords independence," says Hill. "These tools can afford increased social interaction and boost self-confidence, as well as offer health benefits thanks to adequate nutrition and hydration."
For the different types of customers, eating and drinking aids such as those offered by Gripoballs, TalkTools and Neater Solutions promote independence and dignity and simply afford people choices in overcoming a multitude of challenges as it relates to eating and drinking – both in private and public settings. These daily living aids enable users to live a self-determined life and overcome dependency on others for support.