Those with cognitive impairments, such as Alzheimer’s, often find eating a difficult and frustrating experience — with regular accidents and spillages. As a result they can end up eating significantly less than they should. Hoping to improve mealtimes for patients and caregivers alike is the Eatwell tableware set, created by Stanford design student Sha Yao, which has over twenty features designed to increase food intake and make the whole experience less traumatic.
The Eatwell set was heavily inspired by Yao’s personal experience caring for her grandmother, as well as extensive research into potential improvements to regular cutlery and crockery. The set is made from brightly colored plastic — influenced by a study by Boston University, which found that people with dementia can consume up to 24 percent more food and 84 percent more liquid from colorful tableware — which can stimulate them and enable them to distinguish the food from the container more easily. The set has no patterns since these have a tendency to confuse the patient.
The bowl features a slanted basin, making it easier for the eater to gather their food up, and a right angled side that provides a surface to scoop against. The spoon matches the curvatures of the bowl, and the natural alignment of the hand. There are two cups — one with an anti-tipping bottom and one with an extended handle. The set also includes a tray, onto which a napkin can be fixed to catch dropped food and keep the patient clean.
Last year, the Eatwell set completed a successful Indiegogo campaign and was awarded first prize in the Stanford Design Challenge. It is now available to buy for USD 110 for the full eight-piece set. How else could clever design improve the daily routine of those with dementia?