Dysphagia is more of a symptom than a disease, and it’s something that often hints at another problem. For instance, this condition, which is characterized by difficultly swallowing, is present in many neurological diseases, including Parkinson’s and ALS.
Patients may present with problems when swallowing, including gagging and choking, and this has a notable impact on their well-being. It makes it hard to drink and causes them to avoid this necessary act, increasing the risk of dehydration and the many complications it causes.
Dysphagia cups are an assistive product made for people with this condition. They allow for easier movement of liquids and help to bypass the issues associated with dysphagia.
What to Look for in a Dysphagia Cup
Dysphagia cups help users to control the amount of liquid they consume or direct that liquid to the center of their mouth. They come in several different types and can vary in size, style, color, and more. When looking for the right dysphagia cup for you, keep the following in mind:
Is it Easy to Hold?
Are the handles large enough for the user to hold and can they keep it steady and stable? Many dysphagia cups have larger handles to accommodate a user’s hands, but lighter cups made with cheaper materials may not be as secure and stable as they could be.
Does it Spill?
Non-spill dysphagia cups are best, as elderly users may be prone to spilling, dropping, or shaking the cups. This is especially important for individuals suffering from tremors, dexterity problems, and a weak grip.
Does it Suit Your Specific Needs?
Does the cup have an attachment that the user can drink from when they are lying down, can it regulate the amount of fluids that they consume? The cup needs to suit the needs of the user.
The Best Dysphagia Cups for Seniors
We searched the web for the best dysphagia cups, focusing on the features outlined above as well as the price and quality of the cup. Take a look at the list below to see a selection of the best cups we found:
The Rije Cup is one of the best-selling dysphagia cups. It is a trademarked name and is designed and manufactured in Canada. However, there are many cheap variants of this cup being sold on Amazon and they may not deliver the same level of quality and reliability.
We recommend going straight to the source and buying directly from Rije. You can find the brand’s cups on numerous websites, including its own CA-based site, where it retails for around $45.
So, what makes this cup unique?
Part of the top has been removed to allow for drinking when the head has been tilted back, and it delivers controlled amounts of liquid. It’s dishwasher safe, doesn’t leak, and a straw can be added if needed. The Rije cup has two big handles and is large and lightweight.
Provale Regulating Drinking Cup
A plastic sipping cup that dispenses just 1.6 fluid ounces to 3.38 fluid ounces of water every time. This amount will be released when the cup is picked up and used, and it will only deliver another 1.6 fluid ounces when it has been replaced and then picked up again.
The cup is available from Amazon for around $35 to $40 and there are 1.6 fluid ounces and 3.38 fluid ounces options to choose from, each costing approximately the same. It’s sturdy and durable, limiting the risk of it being knocked over. If it is knocked, the solid construction will prevent breaks and cracks, and the cup will only ever spill the small amount of liquid it contains.
Kirimon Flow Control
A brightly-colored, well-made, and surprisingly affordable cup that you can buy on Amazon for less than $20. The Kirimom Flow Control is spill-proof, lightweight, and bulky, making it easy to grip. It features a threaded lid and a large, secure handle.
Independence 2-Handle Mug from the Special Supply Store
Another Amazon offering, this generic dysphagia cup is the cheapest on our list and is available for less than $10. It is a clear plastic cup with two large handles and a “sippy” attachment. This lightweight cup can be used for warm and cold liquids and is safe for use in the dishwasher and the microwave.
Other Assistive Tools for Eating
If you or a loved one is having trouble eating and drinking, whether because they make more of a mess than they used to or don’t have the stability needed to eat and drink, the following assistive tools can help:
- Adaptative Utensils: An adaptive utensil is one that has been specially tailored to suit the needs of elderly patients with Parkinson’s, arthritis, and other issues. They may include larger handles and/or weighted handles and are also adjustable to minimize wrist movement.
- Utensil Straps: A simple strap that wraps around the user’s wrist and has a space for a utensil such as a knife or a fork. These straps can also be used to attach razors, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, and other tools.
- Bibs with Crumb Catchers: Adult bibs are often made of super absorbent materials like Terrycloth but can also be made from wipe-clean vinyl. Some bibs include a crumb catcher at the bottom, a little pocket that catches all of the food and liquids that slide down.