1300 885 886 Independent Living Centres Advisory Service

Kitchen and Household

Jug and Kettle Tippers

Jug and kettle stands eliminate the need to lift a heavy kettle full of boiling water. The kettle can be left in the tipper and refilled using a small jug.

Kitchen Utensils

Built-up Handles

  • Utensils such as peelers are available with ready-made built up handles in a variety of sizes, textures and weights. The needs of the user will dictate what is easiest for them to use.
  • Slip-on foam tubing and clay can also be used to build the handle of ordinary utensils to provide easier grip.

Angled Knives

  • Knives with angled handles allow a stronger grip to be used. It puts less stress on joints by using the whole arm in a sawing action for chopping, slicing etc.

Electric Appliances

  • Using electrically operated appliances can simplify tasks. Blenders, food processors, electric can openers and electric knives are a few commercially available items which can assist with food preparation.

Chopping Boards

Chopping boards can be modified to help stabilise food items to assist with cutting, chopping and spreading with one hand. Food items can be stabilised on boards with prongs or built up sides. Smaller equipment such as graters can be secured onto cutting boards for one handed grating.

Stools and Trolleys

Sitting

Sitting down while working provides stability and helps to avoid fatigue.
A chair or stool with an adjustable height allows good customisation of sitting height for an individual, depending on their needs and bench or table height.

Trolleys

Trolleys can be used to transport objects around the kitchen or houe. This may reduce the risk of dropping items, help to prevent fatigue from carrying items and reduce the trips required to transport objects between rooms.

Other Stabilising Aids

Non-slip Matting

  • Non-slip matting can be used to assist in stabilising objects as well as providing a better grip for tasks such as opening jars.

Clamps

  • A clamp can also be used to stabilise jars and bottles for one hand access.

Magnetic/Suction Frames

  • Saucepans can be stabilised by using magnetic or suction cup frames.

Bowl Tippers

  • Bowl tippers are also available. These are designed to secure and hold mixing bowls and safely transfer contents.

General Household Aids

Taps

For people with hand weakness, lever taps are generally easier than turn style taps. An option to avoid replacing taps is to consider a tap turner placed over the existing tap to provide a lever.

Opening Doors (Knobs and Keys)

Key turners provide extra surface area for a person to grasp and a greater lever action than when using a standard key. Door knobs can be covered with non-slip materials to enable a better grip for turning. Lever handles may also be used to replace round door knobs.

Reaching Aids

A reaching aid may assist people who have difficulties reaching for objects. These incorporate a long-weight shaft and a gripping mechanism operated by squeezing a trigger. Various lengths of reaching aids are available.

Scissors

Scissors can incorporate a self opening mechanism which may reduce fatigue.

Jar and Bottle Openers

Some jar openers are rubber objects, others are lever systems, but all are designed to improve grip and/or provide alternative grip options.
Some openers can be mounted under a shelf or bench to allow a person to open a jar with one hand.

Tin/Can Openers

Can openers with large handles and turning knobs may be easier for people with sore joints to use. J-shaped openers will remove the lid from pull cans more easily.
Another option is electric can openers and can be supplied through mainstream suppliers.

Tips for Opening Jars and Bottles

  • Put the lid under hot water before attempting to open it.
  • Tap the lid gently on the bench top before opening it.
  • Use a device designed to release the vacuum seal on the jar.
  • A jar can be stabilised by putting it in an open drawer and leaning against the drawer.
  • Consider using alternative containers you find easier to open to store the contents of the jar.
  • Consider using a jar opener. Many of these are based on the principle of increasing hand grip on the lid. A piece of sandpaper or non-slip matting can achieve the same result. These methods need strong downward pressure and may not open all jars.
  • Wall or under shelf mounted jar openers allow the use of both hands to open jars. When installing, allow plenty of space to turn and hold the jar. 
  • Lever-type openers reduce the force required to open the jar and the subsequent strain on the hand and wrist joints. 
  • When trying to open a jar with the use of only one hand, if stabilising the jar using the aforementioned drawer method, or wedging the jar between your knees does not work, try a Belliclamp where you push your stomach against a chock which holds the glass in place.

Eating and Drinking Equipment

Positioning

Chairs

It is important to be seated in a comfortable and supportive chair close to a table at the right height. Features of a good chair include a sturdy chair which has an adjustable seat height, contoured backrest and armrest. Sitting in a stable relaxed posture, within comfortable reach of food and drink items means a more comfortable dining experience. Another page on this website provides detailed advice on how best to select a chair.

Cut Out Tables

Tables with a cut out section are available to increase stability and decrease the need for extended reach.

Cutlery, Handle Adaptations and Orthoses

Built-up Handles

  • Standard cutlery can be made easier to use by building up the handles with either foam tubing or clay. Cutlery with specially built up handles are available for purchase.

Angled Knives

  • Angled knives enable a stronger grip and allow a sawing action to be used to cut food.

Rocker Knives

  • Rocker knives enable people to cut food with one hand. Some knives combine the rocking knife with a fork allowing completely one handed cutting.

Palmer Cuff Orthosis

  • Palmer Cuff Orthosis allows people with limited grasp to manipulate cutlery. A strap is placed around the fork or spoon to assist with grasping. Some straps have a pocket in the palmer section so the cutlery can be easily inserted and removed from the hand or limb.

Angled Shaft Cutlery

  • Spoons or forks with an angled shaft can assist those with limited arm movement to get food into their mouths.

*In some cases, standard cutlery may be bent and the handle modified to achieve the same ends.

Weighted Cutlery

  • Weighted cutlery may reduce spillage for users with tremors.

Plates and Non-slip Bases

Plate Guards

  • Clip-on plate guards can be added to most plates to provide an edge to push against. This may help to prevent spills for people with reduced coordination, tremor or limited vision and may help those with limited hand manoeuvrability or use of only one hand to load food onto cutlery.

Non-slip Matting

  • Non-slip matting can be used to prevent plates or cups from spilling and can increase plate/cup stability which is potentially useful for those with tremory, limited coordination, limited hand manoeuvrability or use of only one hand.

Suction Cup Plates

  • Suction cups at the bottom of plates or bowls may also be useful and can hold plates/bowls more firmly than non-slip matting.

Cups, Beakers and Straws

Adapted Cup Handles

  • Two handed cups may be useful for some people to lift or stabilise a cup. Cups with large handles may assist those with weak grasp by allowing them to place their whole hand through the handle.

Lightweight/Weighted Cups

  • Weighted mugs may also be useful in reducing tremor. Lightweight cups can assist those with minimal arm strength and reduced coordination.

Insulated Mugs

  •  Insualated mugs are useful to prevent burns as well as keeping liquids hot or cold.

Cups with Lips

  • An outward lip or flange at the base of a cup can assist to prevent spills.

Cups with Cut Outs

  • Cups with a cut-out section are useful for people unable to tilt their head backwards as it allows the nose to fit into the cut out section. They also prevent the rim of the cup from pressing on the nose of a person with an uncontrolled bite reflex. Cut out and transparent cups also enable the user or the carer to view the contents of the cup while drinking.

Straws

  • Straws eliminate the need to lift, hold and manipulate the cup in a coordinated manner. Straws that feature a one-way valve reduce the effort required to draw fluids up through the straw and are useful for people who have difficulty sucking or swallowing.

Lids and Spouts

  • Beakers or cups featuring a lid with a spout are useful for preventing spillage and regulating the flow of liquid into the mouth.

Require assistance?

If you require advice or assistance in choosing relevant AT products for your needs, please call our national ILC Infoline 1300 885 886. You will be connected to your local state/territory ILC for the cost of a local phone call.

** NT callers are automatically directed to ILC in South Australia.