Some people with MND experience difficulty with eating and drinking. The muscles affected vary from one person to another; a speech pathologist can offer individual assessment and advice. If there is difficulty in maintaining an adequate and nourishing diet the speech pathologist may work in co-operation with a dietitian.
If it is difficult to raise the arms, providing support to the forearms or eating at a high table can make eating much easier.
- Choose lightweight cutlery.
- Obtain grips to enlarge the handles of your own cutlery.
- Attach cutlery to the hand with straps - they can be bought or made.
- A wide range of specially designed cutlery is available.
- Try a plate with a deep rim, or a plate guard that clips on an ordinary plate, to avoid pushing food off the plate.
- Use an insulated hollow plate that can be filled with hot water to keep food warm and palatable.
- Stop plates from slipping by using a non-slip plastic material such as Dycem.
- Use lightweight plastic cups - they may be easier to manage than conventional china.
- Use cups with two handles for stability if hands are weak.
- Use insulated cups to keep drinks warm for longer.
- Use straws if lifting a cup is a problem. Flexi-straws can be bent to the required angle. Straws with a non-return valve make sucking easier.
Look in kitchen shops or department stores for labour-saving gadgets and electrical tools such as tin openers and mixers, but check on ease of operation.
Other helpful items include:
- Lightweight bowls and utensils.
- Jar openers, peelers, and graters.
- Clamps, or non-slip Dycem.
- Boards to help with buttering bread.
- Kettle tippers.
- Specially designed knobs for cookers.
Consider using a microwave oven positioned at a suitable height. Light-weight containers can be used, and the risk of accident when getting food in and out of the oven is greatly reduced.