The table below gives a snapshot of the best adaptive utensils for arthritis if you are looking for a quick overview. Or you can scroll down for detailed reviews.
To have a delicious, well-cooked, nutritious meal is one of those joys of life whose value can only be understood by those who struggle to get it. Especially when it is lying ready, in front of them.
But the struggle to bring the food from the plate to the mouth is so humiliating that it becomes a chore that you dread every day. Yes, we are talking about patients with arthritis who can sometimes struggle to reach the food on their plates to their mouths.
Here, adaptive utensils for arthritis come in handy. Adaptive utensils, as their name suggests are adapted to the unique needs of their users. Arthritis, one may be surprised to know, is not a single disease.
It is a collection of more than 100 diseases and syndromes that cause joint pain. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children are afflicted with one or the other form of arthritis1.
Old age brings along its own share of ailments and conditions due to which we may find it difficult to complete the easiest of the activities. When we are young and able-bodied, we cannot imagine that we may reach a stage of our lives when eating would seem to be a laborious task.
However, this is exactly the case with patients who suffer from severe osteoarthritis. In this article, we will discuss some of the aspects of arthritis and review some of the best cutlery for arthritis sufferers.
A progressively sedentary lifestyle in the last 2 decades has made arthritis a widespread condition that is too common for comfort. In the United States, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 23 percent of all adults suffer from arthritis.
This amounts to roughly 54 million people suffering from the condition. Among them, roughly 2 million adults have limited joint movement leading to restriction in activities and about 25 percent of all arthritis patients report severe joint pain.2
One of the most debilitating forms of arthritis is weakness or loss of dexterity in the hands. This can take many forms, such as shaking hands, difficulty in gripping things, loss of strength to be able to pick up objects, difficulty stabilizing a utensil, and many others.
Different Kinds of Adaptive Utensils for Arthritis
Adaptive utensils for arthritis can be of many different kinds. These include weighted utensils, bendable flatware, spill-proof cups, etc. All of them have a common objective – to help food reach from the table to the mouth in a dignified and safe manner.
In this article, we will discuss our top picks for adaptive utensils for arthritis. Since this is a vast topic, we bring to you the best product from each category.
Best Weighted Utensil – BUNMO Weighted Cutlery
First up – a set of utensils that allows you to continue to eat with cutlery that does not appear to be any different than a normal fork, knife and spoons.
Each utensil in the BUNMO weighted utensils set (of a knife, a fork, and 2 spoons) weighs more than 7 ounces, therefore making a great set of utensils to hold and control using shaking or trembling hands. Another special feature about the utensils is the deep spoons which help to prevent spilling
The set of utensils looks and feels just like a regular set, and comes along with a handy chef-style travel bag for easily taking with you wherever you go. The material used is rustproof stainless steel.
- Heavy to use, perfect for trembling hands
- Deep spoons to avoid spillage
- Look and feel just like normal utensils
- Easy to carry bag
- Dishwasher friendly
- The utensils can be too heavy for some people
Best Non-Slip Handle – Pulse Non-Slip Flatware
Another solution for hand tremors, this time slightly less discrete: Non-weighted, non-slip silicone handle ended utensils (set of 4, again). The idea here is that the large, non-slip (textured) handles are easy to grip and will avoid spilling food. Also due to the large size, they help prevent tremors in the hand.
Each utensil is made from food-grade silicone and high-quality stainless steel. The set carries a money-back guarantee as well.
The handles come in 3 colors – grey, black and red and the set is safe for dishwasher use.
- Large handles for easy pick-up and use
- Come in multi-colors
- Avoid spilling of foods
- Fork tines are squared off, making it difficult to dig into thicker meats
- Spoons could have been made deeper
- The utensils can be too heavy for some people
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Best Utensil Padding – Vive Foam Tubing
One way to go about it is to convert your old cutlery into arthritis-friendly utensils. This can be done by adding the right-sized tubing to the rear end of the utensil.
The Vive Foam Tubing pack consists of 9 sets of foam tubing that can be adapted to various types of utensils, pens, pencils, combs, silverware, toothbrushes, and more! here we will focus more on the utensils part though.
These foam tubings have a soft but non-slip grip which does not absorb odors from the food and is easy to wash (both by hand and by the dishwasher)
The product comes in 12-inch sizes, so you can cut them as per requirement and based on the item to be picked up.
There are three distinct types of foams, one with a 1.9cm hole, the second with 0.9cm hole and the last one with 0.6cm hole in the middle. Each type of foam has its use – the largest one is best for knives and thicker utensils, the middle one is best used for spoons and forks, and the thinnest is more apt for other things such as toothbrushes, pens, pencils etc. The product also comes with a 60-day unconditional guarantee.
- Multi-sized, multi-colored for several uses
- Soft but non-slip grip
- Dishwasher friendly
- Easy to cut up as per need
- The smallest diameter foam does not fit toothbrushes/pens easily
- As the neck of utensils is thinner than the end, the foam can sometimes have a wobbly effect
Here we have a video featuring Vive Foam Tubing.
Best Utensil Holder – Sammons Preston Universal Cuff
The universal cuff eliminates the need to use the handgrip for holding items, thus circumventing the problem of trembling hands and weaker grip entirely.
The cuff fastens around the wrist, and it carries a small pocket where a utensil or other items can be fitted. This makes the utensil perpendicular to the hand while using, making it a lot easier to eat
The leather cuff is soft and comfortable to wear. It has an elastic band that holds it perfectly to the grip of the hand.
- The product works wonderfully due to the innovative perpendicular motion of holding the utensil.
- Comfortable soft leather and elastic for holding the cuff.
- Works well for both left and right-handed individuals
- Be careful with the cuff size – there are 3 sizes available (2.5,3 and 3.5-inch knuckle)
- The elastic which holds the cuff to the hand is not adjustable
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Best Bendable Cutlery – Mars Super Easy Grip Flatware
Bendable utensils have a twist built into their shafts which allows them to bend at an angle to the handle. The person holding them does not have to perform the difficult step of bending his/her hand to eat food.
The Mars Wellness 3 piece set (knife, fork and spoon) is completely bendable on either side and also has a special ergonomically designed non-weighted, ribbed and textured grip for holding the utensils easily.
The utensils are made with premium quality stainless steel and are dishwasher friendly.
- Easy to bend yet sturdy and durable
- Wide, ribbed and textured grip for easy holding
- Customizable bending action to suit the needs of all
- Can be a bit short for some people
- At 10.4 ounces, the weight is a bit much for people with very little hand strength
Best Offset Spoon – Sammons Plastisol Coated
In some cases, it is difficult for arthritic patients to get food into their mouth without making a jerky or biting motion at the end when they are putting the food in their mouth.
The stabbing motion can cause injury to the mouth, teeth or gums, and lips. Plastisol-coated spoons are useful in reducing the extent of injury in such cases. At the same time, these spoons protect those users who may have temperature sensitivity.
The Sammons Preston bendable plastisol spoon combines the benefit of both a bendable spoon as well as plastisol coating. It has a 4.5-inch long handle with 1- 0.75-inch diameter and has a lightweight and durable grip. It is BPA and phthalates and latex-free.
The spoon comes in various options – left offset, right offset, spoon or spork. You can choose the best option as per your need.
- BPA, phthalates and latex-free plastisol coating
- Available in multiple options
- The handle may be too large to eat comfortably.
- Expensive as compared to other option
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Best Spill-Proof Mug – Independence 2-Handle
For persons with weak or trembling hands, sipping their morning coffee or hot cocoa in the evening is an arduous task that requires extreme concentration.
Regular cups are heavy to lift, open at the top (thus prone to spilling) and can be held only by one hand – making them difficult to balance.
This spill-proof, clear cup has several advantages built into one: It is clear, so you can see the contents at all times. It has handles on two sides for picking up easily and is extremely lightweight (only 4.8 ounces).
It has two types of lids -a straw holder and sipper. It can be used for both hot and cold liquids, is BPA, phthalate and latex-free and is very economical!
- Easy to hold and use, lightweight, clear and multiple handles
- Spill-proof lids (either straw holder or sipper)
- BPA, phthalate and latex-free
- Some users have complained the cup may not entirely spill-proof
- The material tends to crack over time
Best Rocker Knife – Sammons Preston Title
The advantage of this product is that it can be held with a very loose grip. The makers understand the requirement for such cutlery and help by designing this such that you need not worry about your grip. It is a perfect purchase for self-feeding. The optimal measurements and the T-shape make it convenient for use for arthritis patients.
The design is such that you can use it effectively for overhand and underhand use as per your requirement and provides maximum stability.
The stainless steel neck makes it extremely strong and durable for cutting and eating. The product is made such that it can be used optimally, whether you are right-handed or left-handed. If you are unable to hold your cutlery in place due to a loose grip, get over the trouble with the help of this product designed especially for people who face such problems.
Being BPA and phthalate-free, you need not be worried about any reaction to your food. The material is dishwasher safe and can resist up to 180 degrees. The simple design ensures that you can clean it effectively to the last morsel of food.
- What most of us look for in such products is usability. This product can be effectively used by both right-handed and left-handed people alike.
- You only need a minimum grip strength for holding this T-shaped knife in place and cut your food easily.
- The dimensions of this product are neither too small nor too large. It is a perfect fit for the elderly, people with arthritis, and kids alike.
- Cleaning the product is extremely easy. You can use it in the dishwasher, and it is safe at up to 180 degrees.
- It is not sharp enough for cutting meat and rear to medium done steak.
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Best Cutlery for Arthritis Sufferers – More Options
Here, we have some more options for cutlery for those suffering from arthritis.
#1 Adaptive Utensils for Arthritis by Special Supplies
The four-component cutlery set includes a knife, a fork, a tablespoon, and a teaspoon, all of which have wide silicone-based handles with ribbed and textured handles for a superior grip.
The comfortable grip and lightweight construction make this cutlery set a good candidate for arthritis patients. The silicone used in the handle is food-grade and safe to use.
The handles, however, make the cutlery end-heavy and, unless you are careful enough, the cutlery may topple over from your bowl (the smaller the bowl the higher the chances of toppling over), spilling food along with them.
It is best to wipe the cutlery clean and dry once washed to reduce the chances of rusting, although the set is constructed from stainless steel and is not prone to rusting easily.
Drying the cutlery, however, may be difficult given that water is often trapped in the grooves on the handle, which takes time to dry. Due to the same reason dirt may accumulate within the grooves over a long period of use and you may have to thoroughly clean them once in a while.
- Lightweight at just 0.6 lbs for all the pieces of cutlery combined
- Safe to be washed in a dishwasher
- The effective wide and grooved grip helps to hold with your entire hand
- Available in 3 colors and designs
- Good value for money
- You may find the spoons a bit flat and taking on less food in one spoonful
#2 BunMo Adaptive Cutlery Set
These weighted sets of cutlery, consisting of a table knife, a teaspoon, a tablespoon, and a fork, make the task of eating easier for arthritic users.
However, this product is not suitable for arthritic patients who feel excruciating pain while moving their wrists, in which case you should be looking at an angled cutlery set. The set, though medium-weighted, may result in the cutlery toppling over backward from smaller bowls, due to the weight of the handles.
The round holes at the end of the handles can be used to tie the cutlery to an anchor on the table or on the chair, so that in case any cutlery falls or topples over, it does not land on the floor to create a mess. The set is not lightweight with a combined weight of 0.8 lbs for all 4 components.
The table knife is not very sharp and is of the same grade of sharpness as a butter knife. While a less sharp knife is a safety feature, sometimes trying to cut through meat with a less sharp knife and arthritic hands can be counterproductive and result in food spillage.
- Durable cutlery that is dishwasher compatible
- The wide rubber handgrip makes it easier to hold the cutlery
- The set comes in a carrying case made of fabric for easy carry along
- The small support on the cutleries just where the stainless-steel attaches to the handle is great to rest your cutlery on the table while eating
- The knife is not that sharp and may not cut through meat
- Due to the handle weight, the spoon may topple over spilling food
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#3 Adaptive Eating Cutlery Set by Celley
The non-weighted (combined weight of 11 ounces) cutlery set from Celley consists of 4 components: 2 spoons – large and small, 1 knife and 1 fork. The knife has a serrated cutting edge which is good for cutting through meat and gives back considerable eating independence to the user. The wide handle made of hardened rubber helps the arthritic patients to grasp the handle comfortably. However, the handle has no grooves, ribs, or ridges to help in an even stronger grip and reduce risk of slipping.
The cutlery is equipped with small support at the edge of the handle where the silverware attached to the handle, so that the spoons, fork or knife can be rested on the table while eating, without the silverware touching the table. This is helpful for arthritic users who often feel pain while eating and would want to rest the eating cutlery during meals. Placing it in the bowl runs the risk of it toppling over due to the weight of the handle.
- Lightweight and durable with premium stainless-steel construction
- Rubberized handle helps to hold the cutlery with a strong grip
- Good value for money
- The handle can be improved with grooves and ridges, for a better hold
- You should be careful not to keep the cutlery close to, or on kitchen items, which are very hot
#4 Angled Cutlery by Sammons Preston
The angled or bent cutlery from Sammons Preston is ergonomically designed so that users with arthritic pain on their wrist joints are not required to move their hands from the wrists to eat with the cutlery.
Instead of a normal cutlery hold with fingers, the arthritis patient can hold the wide handle like holding a hammer and can guide the spoon towards the mouth without moving the wrists.
The cutlery is individually available and is priced aggressively in the mid-teens for each component. As the cutlery is pre-angled and the stainless steel part is fixed to the handle, that is you cannot adjust the angle of it, it automatically becomes left or right-handed and you need to select the correct one to avoid multiple iterations with the customer care.
The handle is made of plastic, which is as per food safety standards. Some users who find it difficult to open their hands due to arthritis may find the handle diameter too big to wrap their hands around.
- Lightweight but durable cutlery. The plastic handle contributes to the light weight of the cutlery
- Helps to grab the cutlery with the whole palm of your hand
- Dishwasher safe and easy to clean
- Angled cutlery is helpful in reducing movements which may cause pain for the arthritic user
- The handle may not be the best to grip with no grooves or ridges
- Not a cost competitive product
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Adaptive utensils give confidence and ease while eating. We hope that this list gets you started on finding the correct adaptive utensil for arthritis, as per your needs. If you are a caregiver, you should like our article on how to make your elderly parents more independent.
We have covered other adaptive equipment that the elderly might need. As a caregiver, you will appreciate having a transport wheelchair to help facilitate movement within the confines of a building or a home. For those who like to be outdoors, we have reviewed power wheelchairs and rollator walkers for outdoor use.
If you find yourself seated for long periods of time, you might be putting a lot of pressure on your spine and lower back. You should consider getting a coccyx cushion or a lift chair recliner.