We all know how important it is to stay hydrated. Without enough water, our bodies struggle to carry out their normal functions.
What you may not know (I’ll admit I didn’t), is that our bodies tend to retain less water as we age. This makes it even more imperative that seniors drink enough water throughout the day.
Easier said than done though, right?
Seeing how most of us have a tough time staying hydrated even in our youthful years, you can imagine how easy it is for elderly individuals to become dehydrated, especially when dealing with age-related physical impairments.
If your parents suffer from arthritis, experience hand tremors, or have difficulty swallowing due to dysphagia, using ordinary drinking cups might prove to be too difficult. And when things become too difficult, it’s often human nature to simply give up.
Moral of the story – to ensure your parents stay hydrated, make it as easy as possible for them to do so. This means finding a cup that suits their needs.
Here are a few elderly drinking cups that might help.
Flo-Trol Drinking Cup
The design of this cup is so simple, yet so effective.
For those with hand tremors, the Flo-Trol drinking cup does a great job at minimizing spillage when dropped. It also lets you drink from it while laying down by giving you full control over how much liquid comes out.
Have you ever put a straw in a cup of water and placed your finger over the other end, causing the water to get ‘trapped’ inside? This cup utilized the same effect. It has a little hole on the cap that allows you to control the flow of liquid through the mouthpiece. To let liquid out, simply lift your finger off of the hole. When you’re done, place your finger back over the hole and voila, the liquid miraculously stops flowing. (Non-magical explanation: covering the hole prevents air from entering the cup, which causes a vacuum and stops any liquid from pouring out—just like the straw example.)
The reason this design is so useful is that it makes it possible for you to drink while laying down. If you’re taking care of someone that is unable to sit up straight while in bed, this is a perfect solution to getting them to drink. It’s actually easier than using a straw, as you don’t need to struggle over positioning it properly.
While the hand and finger positioning can feel a little awkward at first, it eventually becomes natural. That being said, you don’t always have to use the mouthpiece to drink out of it—the opening is wide enough to fit a large straw. This also makes it possible to drink thicker liquids, like soups or puréed food.
As is the case with regular sippy cups, the lid also helps to prevent excess spillage when the cup is dropped or knocked over. (Note: some liquid may spill out of the vent hole. Don’t expect this to keep your new couch free of juice stains.)
The size of this cup is quite small, making it easy to handle. It also has 3 measurement lines to indicate how much liquid is inside – 4, 6 and 8 ounces.
Oh, and they’re dishwasher safe!
Independence 2-Handle Plastic Mug
If you’re looking for a cup for someone with arthritis, this 2-handle mug from Providence is a great solution. The handles provide a much easier grip and take the strain off by allowing you to hold the cup with two hands. They’re also slightly contoured to make them comfortable to grasp.
This particular offering comes with 3 cups and two different lids. One lid, which they call the “anti-splash” lid, is sunken in a bit to allow liquids to pool instead of spilling out. It also has two openings—one large one for normal drinking, and two smaller ones that are side-by-side to minimize the amount of liquid that pours out. The larger hole is also wide enough for a straw, if that’s easier for the person drinking out of it.
The other lid is basically the same as the Maddak Flo-Trol lid mentioned above. It has a contoured spout for easy drinking, and a vent hole to allow you to control the amount of liquid that comes out. This one is a little more awkward to manage, however, as it’s not very reachable while holding the cup by its handles. You’ll most likely have to use your other hand to cover the valve hole while holding it.
Here’s a great cup for those that have a hard time swallowing—a condition known as dysphagia.
Appropriately named the ‘Nosey Cup’, the rim around the top of this cup has an indentation that provides room for your nose. This means you can tip the cup past the point where ordinary cups require you to tilt your entire head back (try drinking out of a regular cup without moving your head and you’ll know what I mean). Being able to keep your neck straight while drinking makes it much easier to swallow, as it keeps the muscles in your throat relaxed.
Providence sells these in a 3-pack, with a 4 oz., 8 oz. and 12 oz cup. They’re BPA, phthalate and latex free, as well as dishwasher safe!
Weighted Base Dysphagia Cup
Since we’re on the topic of dysphagia cups, here’s another great option. The design of this one was really well thought-out.
Made by AliMed, this cup features a large oval rim which accomplishes the same thing as the indented Nosey Cup. Because it’s oval, there’s more room for you to tilt it before it hits the brim of your nose.
The base is wide and weighted, which helps with stability and minimizes the amount of shaking for those with hand tremors. It also features an extra tall handle to allow four fingers to fit comfortably, making it easier to hold.
AliMed sells these in a two-pack (one’s an almond color, the other is a transparent green). They hold up to 8 ounces and are dishwasher safe.
No-Slip Easy Grip Cup
And last, but not least, the Easy Grip Cup from Marusya.
Designed to alleviate pressure for those with arthritis, these lightweight cups have ridges along their sides to place your fingers. This puts your hand in a more ergonomic position, making the cup easier and more comfortable to hold.
While there aren’t any lids provided to prevent spills, these cups are made from BPA-free polypropylene, which allow them to take quite a beating. No concerns of breaking here.
I bought a set of these for our outdoor get-togethers. They come in a pack of four—each a different color—and are stored in a super convenient tote bag. Great for days at the park!
Provale Drinking Cup
A few people have been asking about the Provale drinking cup, which is designed for those with dysphagia by letting out a certain amount of liquid at a time. After reading a few negative reviews, I decided to give Provale the benefit of the doubt and try it out myself.
Needless to say, the reviews on this one are pretty accurate. Given the price Proval has slapped on this drinking cup, I can’t say it’s worth the purchase. You need to lift the cup quite high to get the full amount of liquid out, which sort of defeats the purpose of having a dysphagia cup. On top of that, when you lift it past a certain point, the cup tends to leak. All in all, I wouldn’t recommend this cup—especially with some of the other options available out there.
You can see it here if you want to check it out for yourself.