As a caregiver or spouse of a person affected by full or partial paralysis—or as paralytic yourself—you are aware that tasks that were once taken for granted are now much more difficult. Paralysis can occur due to any number of reasons, from injuries to the spinal cord to strokes and multiple sclerosis. Because the range of causes is so wide, it is difficult to arrive at a solution that is adequate for all patients.
Sustenance can be quite a challenge for a person affected by full or partial paralysis. Mealtimes can be fraught with many obstacles that one could not have imagined in the pre-paralytic state. Following are five recommended steps to improving mealtimes for paralytic patients—both for better nutrition and, in many cases, a step toward independence.
1. Secure Liquids with Cupholders
Hot liquids such as coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or soup can pose a special threat to paralytics. Not only is it difficult for such persons to ingest the liquids, but peril is presented when the beverage container is not secure on the table or wheelchair tray. For persons with full or partial paralysis cupholders are available which securely grip any flat, smooth surface with a patented vacuum base. These cup holders also fold up for easy transportation, and they have strong “arms” to hold in the beverage container. Sizes are available to hold containers from six to forty-six ounces.
2. Keep Foods Separate with Divider Plates
Divider plates are a special type of adapted tableware which segments different courses: one large section for main courses, and two smaller sections for side courses, dessert, fruit, or bread. Persons experiencing any type of paralysis may use divider plates for increased enjoyment during mealtime. After all, no one likes to have their green beans mixed with their meatloaf! Divider plates are the best way of keeping separate food separate. Not only that, but divider plates employ a vacuum base that is much stronger than any kind of “suction cups” or so-called “non-slip” pads found with other manufacturers.
3. Provide Tableware for Snacks
Nutritionists have long identified snacks as an important way to add nutritional value, provided these are healthy “nibbles” such as nuts or fruit. A snack bowl for persons with paralysis, also with that great vacuum base, lets patients enjoy in-between snacks to keep hunger at bay, as well as sustaining them.
4. Scoop Plates to Keep Food In
Most plates and bowls are not contoured to ensure that food stays in. Paralytics who enjoy some range of movement can feed themselves with scoop bowls or plates. This special type of tableware has a “lip” to prevent food from spilling out from undue hand pressure or tremors.
5. Dishwasher-Safe and Microwavable Tableware
Whether you are affected with paralysis or the caregiver of such a person, you will appreciate the time-saving feature of adapted tableware for paralysis patients which allows the implements to be microwaved and sent through the dishwasher (however, the vacuum base must first be removed).