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DisAbility-Friendly Tableware Designed

January 11, 2010

I’ve just read about Gregor Timlin, an able-bodied designer who has recently designed a range of plates, tablecloths, lighting and tables which are intended to help people with dementia to eat independently for longer and with more dignity. The designs were inspired by Mr Timlin’s maternal grandmother, who was very independent and loved cooking.

He has designed:

  • a cup and plate to help those with poor vision, by using colour to ensure the food contrasts with the plate, and make the plate edge visible against the table
  • a high-lipped plate to help people with limited dexterity to keep food on their plate, and a removable microwavable outer layer to keep their food warm for longer
  • a cup with an insulating layer of neoprene to replace childlike double-handled cups by removing the handles and allowing the resident to grab it like a glass
  • a plate shaped so care workers can hold it close to residents unable to feed themselves, meaning they can still see and smell what they are eating
  • a table designed to accommodate wheelchairs so all residents can get close enough to their food to eat, with lights that can be adjusted to compensate for different visual difficulties
  • These products should be available from November. While they were intended for elderly dementia sufferers living in care homes, as a young disabled person who knows many young wheelchair users and their families, I am very pleased to read about these designs because I strongly feel that they will also be a great help to younger wheelchair users and visually impaired people. They may even enable disabled people of all ages to stay out of residential care homes for longer periods of time.

    As any disabled person will no doubt tell you, all we and our families want is as much independence as possible for us for as long as possible. So I’m sure that we will all welcome these products when they are released. They will be a real step forward for disability. I must thank Gregor Timlin for designing these products, and for the sensitivity and understanding he has shown towards disability by doing so.

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