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Help with eating and drinking

Many people prefer to be as independent as possible when it comes to eating and drinking.

If you are having difficulty swallowing food or drink, you should speak to a Speech and Language Therapist who will advise you on the correct techniques and equipment.

However, there are some things you can do for yourself

  • ensure that where you eat is set up correctly
  • your dining chair should be supportive and allow you to sit in a comfortable and upright position, as this will help maintain a good posture for eating and drinking
  • a regular routine with familiar placement of items such as napkin, salt, pepper and drink may help if you have memory problems
  • eating a meal in quiet surroundings with minimal distraction may also help
  • specially designed cutlery or crockery can help if you have difficulty using standard items
  • if you have trouble cutting food, a casserole may be more appropriate than a whole steak
  • thicker sauces and soups are less likely to be spilled
  • using plates or bowls with high sides or a plate guard can help prevent food being spilled
  • cups and mugs with lids will help prevent drink spills
  • cups or mugs with large handles allow you to use your whole hand to grip the handle, or put your whole hand through the handle to grip the cup or mug

Preparing food

There is lots of equipment available to help you prepare food. There some things you can also do for yourself too

  • using scissors or kitchen shears can be easier for cutting some types of food such as herbs or bacon rind
  • using a coloured chopping board which provides contrast to the food colour may be helpful for people with low vision.
  • pre-sliced, chopped or frozen food can be a good alternative to fresh food but can be hard to open depending on the packaging type
  • consider whether you can avoid having to peel vegetables by cooking potatoes and vegetables in their skins.
  • put the items you use every day within easy reaching distance to avoid having to stretch or stand on stools to reach them
  • ensure that your cooker is at the right height for you so you don't have to stretch over hot items

Useful links

One for you - Public Health information on eating (opens in a new window)

Meals on wheels - Royal Voluntary Service (opens in a new window)

See also

Arranging care at home