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How Smart Silverware Benefits Older Adults with Parkinson’s

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According to recent estimates, approximately one million people in the United States have Parkinson’s disease and nearly 50,000 to 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. This neurological disorder can affect a senior’s ability to eat independently. 

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a home care provider Naples, Florida, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Weighted eating utensils with large, easy-grip handles help individuals in the early phases of Parkinson’s disease. However, as the tremors worsen, seniors may require assistance with eating. A company called Lift Labs recently introduced utensils to help seniors with Parkinson’s. 

The unique spoons Lift Labs developed are called Liftware Steady. In addition to having large, easy grip handles, the spoons also contain electrical components that function similar to the technology used in noise-canceling headphones or image stabilizing cameras. When a senior with Parkinson’s disease uses the spoon, hundreds of algorithms can detect his or her hand’s physical movements.

When a senior shakes or trembles, the spoon responds by counteracting the movement and going in the opposite direction. The action then stabilizes the device and enables the user to bring the utensil to his or her mouth without losing the food in the spoon. When the utensils were clinically tested, the Liftware devices helped reduce the tremors by up to 76 percent in the volunteer subjects. 

Some individual users of the new spoon were so pleased with the results that they purchased the utensils. In addition to feeling jubilant over the ability to eat unassisted, they were also thrilled at the prospect of being able to dine in public without embarrassment. The device is priced at $295, but the company accepts donations. Lift Labs donates the new spoons to the International Essential Tremor Foundation or other Parkinson’s foundations for people who cannot afford to purchase them. 

Lift Labs also created a free Android and iOS app called Lift Pulse. The app records a senior’s tremors using a mobile device’s built-in accelerometers. The program then calculates the severity of the motion and compares readings as the disease progresses. Lift Labs founder Anupam Pathak says his team is in the process of creating more attachments for the device, which include a deeper spoon and a fork. 

The company began as a four-person startup and was financed in part by funds received from the National Institutes of Health. However, Google became interested in the technology and acquired the company, which was then able to relocate to the Google campus. Although not involved with the acquisition, Google co-founder Sergey Brin learned that he has a mutated gene that puts him in a high-risk category for developing Parkinson’s.

Seniors with Parkinson’s disease who need assistance with eating and other daily tasks can benefit from hiring professional caregivers. Naples respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.

Parkinson’s is a degenerative disease that can leave a lasting impact on seniors and their family caregivers. As the disease progresses, seniors may need 24-hour caregivers to help them with bathing, cleaning, mobility, and other daily tasks. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Naples Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks. To learn about our revolutionary senior care plans and how they can benefit your loved one, give us a call at (239) 449-4701 today.