Research into One Handed Eating

They're are many products available to help with day to day living after a stroke. However cutlery, in particular to be used one handed, seems to have much scope to be greatly improved. I am about to undertake my final year project in Product Design Engineering at the University of Glasgow, and would like to do some research into this.

I am looking to find out from anyone who has this experience;
- what cutlery do you currently use?
- what do you find to be good/bad about using that cutlery?
- if there is any particular foods that cause you extra difficulty, and how you deal with those?
- when eating out would you ever consider bringing your own cutlery?

Thanks in advance for help and info you can give me.

Natalie

H Nathalie. My stroke took away my left side, but fortunately I am right handed.
I use ordinary cutlery, but, at first, I could not hold anything in my left hand. I can hold a fork in my left hand now, but cannot really use it. I eat with a fork in my right hand, but have trouble dealing with, steak, meat in general and anything that requires cutting. My partner cuts things up for me when asked, but I try to manage. I can cut things with one hand, but this is difficult.

I do have a cutlery set for the disabled, but find those just as awkward. I would not consider taking my own cutlery out and would probably order what I could deal with one-handed. Because Americans popularised one hand eating, I do not feel disadvantaged.

Natalie, The stroke took away my right side and I am right handed. My wife bound anti- slip material around a knife, fork and spoon for my use only . The added thickness gave me some sort of control till my strength returned.
Any meals of rice or pasta I use a spoon but still have slight difficulty in twisting it to line up with my mouth.
Heavy, stainless knives and forks are my downfall so I avoid eating out except for fast finger food outlets.
Deigh

Just two other thoughts. Please remember that eating follows preparation and cooking. You need cutlery in some of those tasks too. You might also consider whether any new or adapted product might actually impede the ability to recover. I had to learn to peel items again e.g. Apples. Learning to hold the fruit in my weak hand and control it whilst peeling the fruit was very, very hard, because it often shot out of my hand. In time, I developed better control. I have also had to beat eggs this evening and,again, just using one hand requires a change of thought process. Serving food one handed, or helping oneself to a dessert is also difficult when you only have full strength in one hand. Carrying crockery in one hand also involves several journeys. Hope this helps.

Hi John, thank you very much for your replys. My initial inspiration for this project was from my uncle who had a stroke many years ago, and one of the things in particular that he finds difficult is also cutting meat. Though it's easy to imagine this would be a fairly standard issue, it's very helpful to have this supported by your reply.
Would it be possible to ask you what it was in particular you found awkward about the cutlery set for the disabled you tried?

As for your second post, it has given me a lot of food for thought, I am in the very early stages of this project and will definitely look into the uses of cutlery outside of eating, and the role it all plays in the recovery process. Thanks again for all your input, it's much appreciated.

Hi Deigh, thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me, it's very helpful. I had been thinking a lot about the shape and size of the cutlery but hadn't really considered the weight. Can I ask what it is about the heavier cutlery you find more difficult? Is it harder to control, or does it just requires more grip, ect?

Probably the 'strangeness ' of the cutlery and perhaps the feeling that it was something 'childlike'. If you have been used to 'normal' cutlery all your life, you do not want anything different. Also, you would have to remember to take it here there and everywhere and have something to put it in after a meal out or a meal with friends.

Stainless cutlery is heavy and deliberately produced smooth and slender. These assets become problems to a stroke victim with a weak hand and wrist grip.
Deigh

I eat completely one-handed. I use a pair of scissors in place of a knife and swap between the scissors and a fork with my right hand. If I am eating out I take scissors with me, if I forget then I choose something that can be eaten with a for only.
The scissors are also useful for food prep.

Hi Natalie,
I am just regaining the use of left arm and hand, luckily I am right handed I can get through egg on toast with a knife and eat it with fork using right hand but anything like a steak or chicken breast etc not a hope.
I was an army engineer myself a long time ago and still have a logical brain.
What would work for me?
A steak knife (well 2 blades one handle) in parallel one fixed one that moves by using thumb or index finger, think semi circle with teeth on outer edge worked by a cog.
Good luck with the project (good on you for picking this area) and if you patent it I will take a consultant fee. ;o)
Take care and all the best
Dave

Pages

Share

Charity information

Stroke Association is a Company Limited by Guarantee, registered in England and Wales (No 61274). Registered office: Stroke Association House, 240 City Road, London EC1V 2PR.

Registered as a Charity in England and Wales (No 211015) and in Scotland (SC037789). Also registered in Northern Ireland (XT33805), Isle of Man (No 945) Jersey (NPO 369).