Until there's a cure ... there's care

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.

Cutlery

  • 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.

Plates

  • 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.

Cups

  • 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.

Cooking

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.