Designer invents new dining solution for dementia

Industrial designer, Sha Yao's Eatwell tablewear set is created specifically for patients suffering from cognitive impairments including dementia

Strapline: Dementia products

Industrial designer, Sha Yao, is providing a boost for dementia patients with the launch of a new tablewear collection for people with cognitive impairment.

Because spilled foods and drinks are so common, the burden on caregivers and staff to clean up accidents, as well as motivating their care recipients to eat the proper amount of food, can become extremely challenging

After her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Yao set out to learn more about the disease, and see how Alzheimer’s patients - as well as those with similar cognitive impairments - lived their lives.

While volunteering at a nearby senior care facility, she realised that patients with dementia were experiencing particular difficulties around the simple act of feeding themselves.

To address the problem, Yao has created Eatwell, a complete tableware set created specifically for patients suffering from cognitive impairments.

From the materials used to the shapes, and even the colors, of the bowls, plates, silverware, and cups; each design decision was made with a specific purpose in mind.

The set includes angled bowls with 90-degree rims, which allow food to collect at one side, and be scooped with ease.

Yao said: "I noticed that for many people with Alzheimer's, the act of eating could be difficult and extremely frustrating, and as a result they often eat less than is healthy for them.

"Because spilled foods and drinks are so common, the burden on caregivers and staff to clean up accidents, as well as motivating their care recipients to eat the proper amount of food, can become extremely challenging."

Each Eatwell set includes over 20 unique features to help make the process of eating as easy as possible. The collection is available in two colours - a yellow set which is recommended for solid foods; and a red set recommended for soups and liquid foods.

Each bowl includes a slanted basin that collects food stuffs on one side for easier gathering. One side of each bowl is also right angled to provide a surface to scoop against.

The exterior of each bowl is brightly colored to stimulate appetite, while the interior has a high-contrast finish to help distinguish the bowl from food inside.

I noticed that for many people with Alzheimer's, the act of eating could be difficult and extremely frustrating, and as a result they often eat less than is healthy for them

The spoons, available in both right and left-handed versions, have been engineered to precisely match the curvatures of the bowl, ensuring easy and efficient scooping. Spoon handles are also curved to fit the natural alignment of a person's hand.

And the anti-tipping cup includes a sturdy, wide base that resists tipping from short drops and bumps. The mug has an extended handle that provides extra support and protects against tipping. Each set also includes a straw-securing lid for each cup and mug. Optional trays can also be purchased, which are equipped with a special feature that allows a bib, apron or tablecloth to be fastened to the edge to catch any dropped foods and prevent clothing and carpet stains.

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