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How to Help Adults Eat and Drink Efficiently

How to Help Adults Eat and Drink Efficiently
  • Jan 30, 2024
  • S&L Therapy

How to Help Adults Eat and Drink Efficiently

Helping an Adult with Eating and Drinking Difficulties

Consuming food and beverages is crucial for maintaining proper nutrition and hydration, as well as for enjoying pleasurable experiences and engaging in social interactions. The process of eating and drinking relies on a sophisticated and coordinated system, which means that there is a significant potential for complications to arise for adults who have developed swallowing disorders due to a stroke, brain injury, and other health conditions.

What are the challenges?

Eating and drinking are essential activities of daily living, but for some adults, these tasks can become challenging due to various reasons such as physical disabilities, neurological conditions, or age-related issues. It's important to understand the specific difficulties an individual faces before offering assistance.

For a better understanding of an individual’s problem with swallowing, you can visit S&L Therapy London to book your appointment for a thorough assessment, diagnosis, and personalized treatment.

Moreover, we offer specialized training and care advice to families, carers, and other healthcare professionals who work with adults with speech, language, communication, and swallowing disorders.

Identifying the Problem

When helping an adult with eating and drinking difficulties, it's crucial to first identify the root cause of the issue.

Does the individual struggle with physical coordination to bring food to their mouth?

Or is swallowing becoming problematic?

By understanding the exact nature of the challenge, you can provide more effective support.

Effective Communication

Communication plays a crucial role in understanding and addressing the needs of adults with eating and drinking difficulties. It's important to utilise clear and direct language, maintain eye contact, and use non-verbal cues to ensure effective communication. Being attentive to their cues and responses can help in gauging their comfort and satisfaction during mealtimes.

Once you've identified the specific difficulties, it's essential to communicate empathetically with the individual. Use active listening and open-ended questions to understand their feelings and preferences regarding food and drink. This can help in creating a supportive environment.

Nutritional Support and Guidance

Consulting with a registered dietitian or nutritionist can provide valuable insights into crafting suitable meal plans and dietary modifications for adults with eating and drinking difficulties. This professional guidance can ensure that individuals receive adequate nutrition while accommodating their specific challenges. Moreover, it's essential to monitor their hydration levels and adjust fluid intake as necessary.

Practical Solutions

There are several practical ways to assist an adult with eating and drinking difficulties. Consider using adaptive utensils or modified cups to make the process easier for them. Additionally, altering the texture of the food or thickening beverages might aid in safer swallowing.

If the treatment requires a special diet, assist in preparing food or drinks with the recommended textures, a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) can provide guidance on the appropriate food and drinks for the individual.

When supporting adults with eating and drinking difficulties, it's essential to create an environment that promotes comfort and safety. Ensuring that the dining area is free from distractions and noise can help individuals focus on their meals.

Emotional Support

Dealing with eating and drinking difficulties can be emotionally taxing for adults. Providing emotional support and reassurance is vital. Encourage them to express their feelings and be understanding of any frustrations they may experience.

Also, accompany the individual to their swallowing evaluation and subsequent appointments. Assist with insurance matters and paperwork. Pose inquiries to the doctor and/or SLT to comprehend the issue and treatment suggestions.

Help with Exercises

Assist them with muscle movement exercises, which are commonly included in dysphagia treatment, and should be suggested by a SLT. Support the individual in performing these exercises regularly.

Seeking Professional Help

In some cases, seeking professional help from a speech therapist, occupational therapist, or dietitian can provide valuable insights and strategies to address eating and drinking difficulties. These professionals can offer personalized guidance and support.

In conclusion, Bell’s palsy can significantly impact an individual’s ability to communicate and interact with others. However, with the support of speech therapy, individuals with Bell’s palsy can work towards regaining control over their facial muscles, improving their speech and swallowing function, and ultimately enhancing their overall quality of life.

Encouraging Independence

While it's essential to offer assistance, it's equally important to encourage independence. Finding a balance between support and independence can help adults with eating and drinking difficulties maintain a sense of autonomy and dignity.

Providing clear, concise instructions and allowing ample time for individuals to complete tasks at their own pace is key. Encouraging them to express their preferences and choices can also contribute to a positive dining experience.


Assisting an adult with eating and drinking difficulties requires patience, empathy, and practical solutions tailored to their specific challenges. By understanding the problem, communicating effectively, and providing emotional support, you can make a positive difference in their daily life.

Remember, every individual's needs and preferences are unique, so it's essential to approach each situation with sensitivity and flexibility.


If you or a loved one is experiencing swallowing difficulties, S&L Therapy London can help. Our Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapists offer personalized treatment and effective strategies that enhance strategies that enhance swallowing safety and boost overall quality of life.

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