Thursday, July 14th, 2016
Last modified on October 20th, 2022
Every stroke survivor has unique symptoms, but complete or partial loss of motor function is a very common side effect of stroke-related brain damage. Because certain nerves and neurological connections may have been damaged during stroke, many patients lose strength or control of the body parts they depend on for everyday tasks.
Many of these tasks revolve around food. From feeding oneself to preparing food for others, and many stroke survivors struggle to navigate the kitchen without full control of both arms or hands. Fortunately, many adaptive utensils and kitchen aids are designed to accommodate patients’ needs during stroke recovery. At Saebo, we’ve researched some of the top adaptive kitchen aids for stroke recovery. Here are just a few of our favorites.
Forget about cooking – most stroke survivors start their recovery journeys with a need for more practical utensils for eating. Adaptive utensils for stroke recovery include knives, forks, and spoons with special grip or rocking features, as well as accessories and devices that make it easier to use common utensils.
The following adaptive kitchen aids are ideal for patients who have limited strength or control in one hand.
Muscle weakness after a stroke may lead to compromised grip strength. Good Grips Stainless Steel Utensils have cushioned grips that don’t get slippery with moisture, and they adapt to any hand’s unique grip.
Order a sample kit to try the fork, three spoons, and the rocker knife, which are also useful for people with arthritis and general muscle weakness.
If gripping is a major challenge and an “all-in-one” tool appeals to you, the ADL Universal Cuff may be your best solution. It’s important to keep the muscles active and in natural positions after neurological damage, and this durable cuff slips on a variety of different utensils to make up for tremors, weak grips, and other effects that limit dexterity. The cuff easily slips on and off and is currently retailing in size Medium and Large.
As a “universal” tool, the cuff’s major value is that it works with existing utensils, pens and pencils rather than requiring you buy a stable of specialized equipment.
Another option for patients with little or no grip strength, finger loop utensils keep the hands in a more natural gripping position. This is important, because tendons may tighten and neurological connections may be lost if muscles remain in sedentary, unnatural positions. Finger Loop Utensils were designed by an occupational therapist for patients with little-to-no grip strength.
Whereas the universal cuffs on the market can be adapted to any utensil, pen or pencil, and be had for less than $10, tools like Finger Loop Utensils offer more natural hand positioning. But they also require you buy a whole new set of utensils.
The UBend-It Fork and other UBend-It Utensils are versatile utensils for patients with weak arms or reduced range of motion in their fingers and wrists.
The handles are contoured and reinforced for extra flexibility. These specialized utensils can be positioned at any angle that is comfortable to the user.
The Rocking T Knife makes it easy to apply pressure while cutting food. Its wooden handle fits either hand, and the knife requires only a light rocking motion. The blade can slice, dice and chop adequately, and it can be sharpened. The cutting motion is much less stressful on joints that may already be inflamed or weak.
The Verti-Grip Professional Knife is a one-handed rocker knife that limits the amount of “rocking” necessary to make clean cuts. The knife uses mostly downward pressure, and the weighted blade and grooved handle are designed to maximize control. Patients who have weakness in both hands can also use it as a two-handed knife, if necessary.
Stroke survivors looking to do some cooking and prep work around the kitchen often need to look beyond just adaptive utensils. Cutting boards are just one of the many kitchen staples that normally require two hands to use, but for which there are alternatives for stroke survivors.
The following adaptive kitchen aids are particularly helpful for patients who recently suffered stroke.
The Slicester is a one-handed slicing device that delivers surprisingly impressive results. Its one-handed design doesn’t detract from its perfectly symmetrical slices, which are easy to cut for sandwiches, snack trays, and more. Choose from three different thickness settings, and rely on the rolling guide bar to maximize control during slicing.
Freedom’s No-Slip Scoop Plate comes with a removable vacuum pad that suctions to surfaces and keeps the plate at a “scoopable” angle. This full-size plate has extended edges to avoid spills and make forks and spoons easier to use.
The ability to eat independently after a stroke can not be understated, and this milestone is made even more realistic with a plate built to prevent spills.
Brain damage on one side of the brain may only affect one side of the body. If you have function in one hand but cannot use the other to grip or hold items, cutting food may be difficult.
This one-handed cutting board includes a vise that holds food in place for you, allowing you to control the knife without slipping or making uneven cuts. The vise can also be used to hold jars while opening lids.
Like the Swedish Cutting Board, this food preparation board uses spikes to hold produce in place. The tool uses stainless steel graters and collection bowls so that you’re not limited just to slicing and dicing. Using wood instead of plastic, this food prep board is five inches longer than the Swedish Cutting Board and is simply built to do more.
Preparing, sharing, and enjoying food is one of life’s most basic joys. Adaptive kitchen aids make it easier to retrain the brain, regain strength, and accommodate different ability levels in the kitchen. Though gripping small tools or using both hands may not be possible early in the stroke recovery process, many patients have seen enormous benefits from the adaptive kitchen aids we’ve covered. What are your favorite kitchen aids for stroke recovery?
Whether you are a caregiver, occupational therapist or even a stroke survivor yourself, Saebo provides stroke survivors young or old access to transformative and life changing products. We pride ourselves on providing affordable, easily accessible, and cutting-edge solutions to people suffering from impaired mobility and function. We have several products to help with the stroke recovery and rehabilitation process. From the SaeboFlex, which allows clients to incorporate their hand functionally in therapy or at home, to the SaeboMAS, an unweighting device used to assist the arm during daily living tasks and exercise training, we are commitment to helping create innovative products for stroke recovery. Check out all of our product offerings or let us help you find which product is right for you.