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Drinking equipment

Drinking Equipment Panel

Staying hydrated is essential for everyone, but it can become especially challenging for older adults living independently. Age-related issues like reduced mobility, weakened hand strength, or even forgetfulness can make drinking a simple task feel overwhelming.

Common scenarios and concerns

Lifestyle and equipment options to help you

Difficulty reaching or grasping: Limited hand and arm mobility can make reaching and holding cups or glasses challenging.

This can lead to dehydration, spills,  and frustration.

Adapted mugs and cups: Weighted, easy-grip, or two-handled options. 

Straws: Consider bendable or specialised straws for thicker liquids.

Reduced hand strength: Difficulty gripping or squeezing a cup can lead to spills and frustration.

Lidded cups: Leakproof lids prevent spills. 

Automatic openers: Electric openers for bottled water or juice.

Vision impairments: Difficulty seeing the contents or level of liquid in a cup can be a safety concern.

Brightly coloured cups: High-contrast colours enhance visibility. 

Tactile markings: Raised markings indicate fill level.

Difficulty remembering to drink: Cognitive challenges or busy schedules can lead to dehydration.

Hydration reminders: Alarms, apps, or designated water bottles with time markings.


Common challenges with drinking for older adults

  • Difficulty reaching or grasping: Decreased hand and arm mobility can make reaching for a cup, grasping it securely, or bringing it to your mouth difficult. This can lead to spills, frustration, and ultimately, dehydration.
  • Reduced hand strength: Weakened grip strength can make it challenging to hold a cup or squeeze a bottle, leading to spills and frustration.
  • Vision impairments: Difficulty seeing the contents of a cup or gauging the liquid level can be a safety concern, especially for individuals with cataracts or age-related macular degeneration.
  • Difficulty remembering to drink: Cognitive challenges or busy schedules can lead to forgetting to drink fluids throughout the day, increasing the risk of dehydration.

Equipment and aids to help you drink

  • Adapted mugs and cups: Consider mugs or cups with features that improve grip and accessibility. These can include:
    • Weighted bottoms: Weighted bottoms provide stability and prevent tipping.
    • Easy-grip handles: Larger, textured handles offer a secure hold.
    • Two-handled designs: Two handles on opposite sides offer additional support for lifting and holding the cup.
  • Straws: Straws can be a valuable tool for individuals with limited mobility or difficulty holding a cup to their mouth. Opt for:
    • Bendable straws: These allow for easier positioning while drinking from various angles.
    • Specialised straws: Consider thicker straws for thicker liquids like milkshakes or smoothies.
  • Lidded cups: Leakproof lids are essential for preventing spills, especially for individuals with tremors or unsteady hands. Consider lids with large openings for easy refilling.
  • Automatic openers: Electric jar openers can be helpful for individuals with limited hand strength who struggle to open bottled water or juice containers.

Additional things to consider

  • Keep drinks readily available: Place filled, easy-to-open water bottles or cups in convenient locations throughout your home, such as the bedside table, kitchen counter, or living room.
  • Use brightly coloured cups: Opt for brightly coloured cups that are easy to see, especially for individuals with vision impairments.
  • Tactile markings: Some cups have raised markings on the side to indicate the fill level, which can be helpful for visually impaired individuals.
  • Hydration reminders: Utilise smartphone apps or set reminders on electronic devices to prompt you to drink water at regular intervals.
  • Flavour your water: Adding slices of lemon, cucumber, or berries to your water can enhance its flavour and encourage you to drink more.
  • Consider alternatives: Include hydrating foods like fruits and vegetables in your diet to supplement your fluid intake.

Where to buy equipment to help you drink 

Plymouth City Council, NHS Devon, and Livewell Southwest have jointly commissioned NRS Healthcare to deliver the Safe+Well service, and they have over 2,500 daily living aids that you can purchase by mail order, telephone, or online.

View the Plymouth Safe+Well website

NRS has a dedicated phone line with a trained team of specialists who can answer any questions you might have. Just call 0345 6461860.

Other places to buy equipment from:

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  • Free assessment tool: Select the area of difficulty that is relevant to you. You will then be asked a few questions to guide you towards helpful daily living aids. 
  • Free telephone advice line: Complete the online form, and we will contact you to arrange a convenient time to call.



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