If you have a relative suffering from parkinson’s, then you know how unstable they can be with their limbs. They are ever having tremors and this makes eating such a difficult process. They never find it fun to eat out in a restaurant because they will be served with normal spoons and forks which are just not good enough for them. They need weighted spoons that are going to be a little bit steady as they try to direct food into their mouths.
Top 5 Parkinson’s Gyroscope spoons
Well, in this article, we look at the best eating utensils for them and we pay attention to the Parkinson’s spoon. We will mostly be looking at smart spoons that are weighted as well as those that have motion sensors so that they can detect the direction of the mouth to make eating easier.
How to know whether the gyro spoon will be of benefit to your Parkinson’s patient
Gyenno has come out to say that people with severe hand tremors might not find the smart Parkinson’s spoon effective for them. These spoons only work for people with mild or moderate tremors. If your tremors have an amplitude greater than 7cm, then the spoon might not be of help for you and you will need to feed the patient by holding the normal spoon for them.
To test whether your patient can use these stabilizing spoons, go ahead and cut out a 7cm by 7cm square on a piece of A4 sized paper.
Hold up the A4 paper facing the patient. Ask the patient to hold a pen at the centre of the square and try to keep it there for 20 seconds. If their amplitude is greater than the 7cm, the spoon will not be of help. You will note this when they tend to touch the square edges with the pen.
If the patient does not touch the square edges with the pen, then the smart spoons are a right fit and will help them eat without trembling a lot.
The gyenno gyroscopic spoon for tremors electronically reduces your tremors by 85% thus enabling the parkinson’s patient to at least stabilize a little bit. The gyenno spoon comes with a gyro weighted handle with a good grip, a charging box and a charging cable. The fully charged spoon can go for at least three meals a day.
It will switch off itself automatically when you are not using it and is anti-bacterial, metal-grade silicone and is FDA approved.
The liftware steady starter kit comes with a parkinson’s spoon, folk and soup spoon. The liftware spoon reduces hand tremors by 70% and is thus a little bit worse as compared to the gyenno spoon.The gyroscopic handle has motion sensors so that it can detect the direction of your mouth and ease movement towards that side.
Most people think that the lifware spoon will stop their tremors but it is not designed for that. When you eat with this spoon, you will still find yourself tremoring but those tremors are absorbed by the liftware handle and as such, you are still able to eat really well. If the tremors are too much, the motion sensor will detect the direction you intend to move the spoon and will therefore help you direct food to your mouth.
The Good grips spoon is weighted such that it is more stable and thus possible for you to move food to your mouth with less pouring and less embarrassment. It also features a raised lip so that even when you do tremor, less food will run off.
Unlike the two former spoons, this has no electric gadgets in it. Just the weighting and the super deep spoon eating surface.
Kinsman Enterprises 11794 KEatlery Weighted Dinnerware Soupspoon
The Kinsman Enterprises soupspoon was far too heavy for my patient’s liking. Though it sells affordably, the spoon weighs 7.2 ounces which is quite heavy for a patient battling Parkinson’s at stage 3 where the tremors are quite high. Though I have seen from other reviews that those at early stages of the disease can actually use it, it did not do my patient any good. With that said though, I do not think that the spoon is just useless and a waste of money
Buy from Amazon
Sammons Preston is another cheap to buy weighted spoon for individuals with hand tremors or suffering from arthritis, stroke or simply weak grip. It has non-slip handle with a plastic covering that makes a good grip. Though the guys at Sammons Preston claim that it is bendable, I found it rather hard to do so as the material was really strong.
The Bunmo spoon is weighted and therefore good for people who are suffering from arthritis, have handicapped hands or are suffering from parkinson’s disease. The set comes with two spoons, a sharp curved knife and fork. The handles are grip friendly for anyone having hand muscle problems so that they can hold it with ease. Their size is also rather big so that you can hold them with ease.
Vive health is a reputable company that deals with caregiving products and when I saw their Parkinson’s disease spoon, I just felt compelled to try it out and then write this review. The set comes with a knife, feeding spoon and soup spoon and fork.
The ribbed weighted vive health spoon gives you a good grip so that you can eat with ease despite the tremors. The weight somehow reduces the tremors though I would not say that it is as effective as the smart parkinson’s spoon.
How to eat with tremors
- Use both hands to hold the cup
- Avoid alcohol or too caffeinated beverages
- Hold your elbows close to your body
- Take beverages from half filled cups or glasses. You could also use straws
- Be rested since being agigated can aggravate the tremor
- Wear weighted objects such as watches, wristbands as weight can help with making you stable.
- Avoid buffets or ask someone to get you the food from the line
- Eat fro, half-filled spoons
- Have your food cut into tiny bits that are easy to chew
- Use a napkin so as to not make a mess of yourself while eating
- Use weighted utensils or you if you can afford it, use smart spoon and forks that counteract tremors
- When holding a cup, use one hand to hold it on the rim and support it on the bottom with the other hand
- Have the eating utensils placed almost at edge of table. The utensils need have rubber bottom so that they do not move or slip.
What you need to know about Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease is a neural degenerative disease that affects fine motor skills and slowly goes to affect movement and even speech. It mostly affects individuals past the age of 50 though there are rare cases of people below that age. The causes of the disease though not fully known are thought to be either environmental especially due to exposure to some pesticides or genetic whereby if one of your family members was affected, then you are likely to also get the disease. Mayoclinic adds that scientists have linked the presence of lewy bodies and the protein alpha-synuclein within lewy bodies as possible causes of the Parkinson’s disease. Medical news Today says that people with the disorder have low dopamine levels due to the dopamine generating cells dying over time for unknown reasons.The main symptom of Parkinson’s is hand tremors and over time, the disorder has been found also to affect walking as well as speech.
Parkinson’s has no known cure and what doctors give are just medication to alleviate the symptoms. These Parkinson symptoms are:
- Tremors in the hands, arms, legs, jaw and head
- Stiffness of the limbs and trunk
- Slowed movement(bradykinesia)
- Poor body balance leading to falls.
The disease was discovered by English surgeon Dr James Parkinson(1755-1824) who published an article on the disorder called An Essay on the Shaking Palsy. 11th April is marked globally as World’s Parkinson’s day and coincides with Dr. James birthday. A red tulip is used as a symbol for the disease. Medicinenet classifies the disease into five stages and these are:
Stage 1: The symptoms are mild and almost unnoticeable. They do not affect they way you lead your life
Stage 2: Symptoms deteriorate and it takes long to complete simple tasks
Stage 3: At mid stage parkinson’s, an individual loses balance and falls often. They have trouble dressing, eating and drinking and this is when you need that gyroscopic spoon for Parkinson’s tremors.
Stage 4: The person needs assistance walking since they are not able to do so on their own.
Stage 5: The person is at the end stage of the disease and cannot live on their own. They need assistance in everything.
Mayoclinic lists the risk factors of Parkinson’s as:
Age: The disease mostly affects people past the age of 60
Sex: Men are at a higher risk of the disease as compared to women
Heredity: If your family members had the condition then you are at a higher risk than someone who does not have it in their family line.
Overexposure to toxins: Use of pesticides has been found to be a high risk factor.
Medicine for alleviating parkinson’s disease
Though the cure for the disease is not known, doctors will prescribe to you medicine to relieve the symptoms. These drugs according to Wikipedia include:
Levodopa which is a precursor of dopamine and can pass the blood-brain barrier. You see when you have this disease, it means that your brain is not producing enough dopamine which is an issue that medication should address. Taking dopamine in its raw form is not advisable at all though since it will not pass the blood-brain barrier.
Dopamine agonists such as bromocriptine, pergolide, pramipexole ropinirole, piribedil, cabergoline, apomorphine and lisuride.
COMT inhibtors such as Tolcapone. COMT degrades dopamine and as such, we need an inhibitor that prevents this degradation and that is where Tolcapone comes in.
How to take care of Parkinson’s patients
As a caregiver, you need to do the following to take care of patients with Parkinson’s
Love and understanding
Aged people living with the disorder need you to understand them. They have a central nervous system degenerative disorder which is not easy to live with. Be there for them when they need help dressing, eating or walking.
And since they are also embarrassed when they cannot hold a pen on their own, write or hold a book without assistance, show them love and do not laugh at how hard they are finding it to use their fine motor skills.
Feed your patient with balanced diet so that they have strength to walk and hold onto things until they reach the end stage where they cannot do all those tasks anymore.
Utensils for curbing tremors
Weighted spoons, folks and non spill cups are a must-buy for people living with Parkinson’s. In this article, we have tried to look at some of them worth your money.
Safety rails around the house
You need to install safety rails around the house especially the bathroom and the toilet so that the patient always have something to hold on to when they are almost falling.
Offer assistance walking
Patients with this disorder find it hard to walk and they often fall. You should therefore be there to offer them assistance while walking. At early stages, you can get them a walking stick, walkers and clutches but as time moves on, you have to be there for them to help them on wheelchairs.
Keep them off from alcohol and smoke
Though they may always to take one for the road and insist on doing so, as the caregiver you have the responsibility of making sure that your Parkinson’s patient does not indulge in such practices. Alcohol, too much caffeine and cigarette smoke have been found to aggravate limb tremors and should therefore be avoided at all costs.
Wrap up on the best eating utensils for Parkinson’s patients
The liftware remains as my personal best since I have seen how it dignifies Parkinson’s patients. With the motion sensors and the electric technology, patients are able to scoop food and eat peacefully amid the tremors. And did I mention that it comes with a bag so that you can carry it when going out to a restaurant and still hide the fact that you have too much shaking.
If you are on a low budget though, you might then decide to go for the good grips weighted soup spoon which with its sheer weight will reduce your spillage somehow.