Monday, March 22, 2010

Caregiver Aids #13: The Queer Fork

It's really a spork with a right angle bend, but MW (Skip's companion) calls it the Queer Fork, a name I like much better. We have other utensils with big handles and foam tubes to put on the silverware from our regular set, but this is the one Skip asks for the most. I have a similarly configured spoon on order from Allegro Medical.

Now if Skip is the one using this utensil, why do I have it as a caregiver's aid? Well, without utensils that are easier for Skip to grip, I'd be feeding her at most meals. This gives her more independence and me less work.


Tim and Janet Meydam said...

Cranky - Janet here. I am an OT and I wish all caregivers had your attitude. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "it's just easier if I help him/her". People don't realize that it's actually easier if people retain any independent function they can. Makes them feel better about themselves also!

zoomdoggies said...

We have a drawer full of adaptive utensils, foam tubes for adapting our regular utensils, and assorted tools intended to convey food from plate to mouth. Some things worked pretty well, others not so much. Things that helped a lot at first didn't work so well after a while, so I went looking for other solutions. Experimentation was ongoing.

I was so resistant to accepting help with meals that I fought it far longer than I probably should have. Eating became such a struggle that I'd skip meals rather than have to deal with it. While I'm in no danger of wasting away, this was obviously not a long-term solution.

As long as Skip can feed herself, keep trying new tools. If one doesn't work, another might. As you say, it's better for both of you. But if she gets to the point where she needs help, be there for her. It's a really hard thing to accept.

Cranky said...

Janet - thanks for your note. It was the OT when Skip was in the rehab hospital who suggested the built-up silverware and some other items that gave us good ideas to make eating easier for Skip. I sometimes fall into the same trap the other caregivers you mention do, though. Back in the day when Skip could still transfer, she did it on her own every day, but I did some of them myself because I was impatient. I struggle, too, sometimes with the thought, "why should Skip use up her little energy to do such and such when it's so easy for me?"

Zoom - it's good to keep the continuous experimentation thought in mind. The bummer with these kinds of specialty eating items is I can't just drive down to the corner store and pick one up, or, even better, take Skip there to give them a test drive before buying. But I keep prowling around on Allegro Medical's site to see what kind of things are available to try.

awb said...

It does make it much easier to manipulate with that little twist.


Diane J Standiford said...

What a great queer! I love it and must have one! My eating is becoming more difficult. Skip is so lucky to have you. I feel very happy for her and lonely at the same time. I know she is a wonderful, strong person and you are lucky too, but what a special couple you are.

Cranky said...

Andy - you're right that twist is the key.

Diane - I suggest you check out a site like Allegro Medical. That's where we buy a lot of these specialty items. They often have 15% or 20% off specials on everything or free shipping.

I'm glad you recognize that I'm lucky to have Skip. MS has knocked some of the stuffing out of her, but she is still strong and wonderful.

Patrick@Caregivingly Yours said...

Sporks are the ONLY way to go! A spork plus plates with elevated sides are about the only way Patti can still work to feed herself.

Now in our story there is a major risk to her feeding herself which is choking. Self feeding must be monitored because of her dysphagia. Verbal prompts to chew and swallow are mixed with physically adjusting the quantity of food she may have gotten onto her spork.

Yes, I believe it is good to always encourage self feeding yet safety trumps all.

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick

Cranky said...

Patrick - I agree that safety is the top priority. I just recently bought a small plate/bowl with elevated sides and Skip found it worked great for salad. Was just prowling around this morning looking at the lips that can clip on to existing plates. Should have a few of those to try out within the next week or so.

Have Myelin? said...

love the name!