Product test: tableware

People with dementia at an activity café review products designed to help eating and drinking.

Eating and drinking products

Eating and drinking products were on the menu at our latest consumer panel session at Armthorpe Activities Café in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. People with dementia, carers and volunteers were all on hand to try out a range of crockery, cutlery and glassware.


The group tested out the Unbreakable 'glassware' range, which includes a beer glass, wine glass, tumbler and carafe. The products are actually made of a hardwearing clear plastic to ensure they will not break or shatter if dropped.

‘You’d swear they were glass,’ said an impressed Rita. ‘Old style plastic glasses look like plastic, but this looks like the real thing.’

Ann liked the wine glass, while Jo was amazed by how lightweight it was. 

John was a fan of the beer glass, though he felt that a half-pint version would be good for people who preferred a smaller amount to drink.

Martha joked, ‘It’s lovely and light, but you want it full!’

Dignity range

The Dignity range of homeware from Wade Ceramics is designed in bright colours to make items easier to see.

Ted appreciated the style of the plate, which features a lip on one side to give it greater depth.

Vicki thought it would have been good for her mum, who had dementia, as she used to push her food over the side of flatter plates.

Walter felt the two-handled mug would be ideal for someone who finds ordinary cups hard to hold.

Ed was particularly keen on the design of the handles, which he felt guarded against the product slipping out of someone’s hands.

Barbara said the Dignity bowl was ‘substantial’ and ‘good to eat off’, though she wondered if it might become too heavy if too much food was put in it.

‘It’s got a good base on it,’ added Bill. ‘It’s not going to topple over.’

Someone using an Unbreakable pint glass

Melamine crockery

The group also tried out plates, bowls and mugs made from melamine, which looks like ceramic but is less heavy.

One of the mugs has a feeder lid, with a drinking spout, and one comes without.

Barbara thought the mugs had great handles and were very easy to use, while Martha said they were ‘really secure’.

Ed thought the rim of the bowl was good for holding something hot.

The yellow and blue colours were popular too.

‘They look good together – nice and bright,’ said Martha.

‘They all seem to match,’ added Barbara.

Café Co-ordinator Jane noted that both the melamine products and other items would not look strange on an ordinary dinner table.

‘You could serve the whole set and it would not be out of place,’ she said.

Royal Doulton

The Royal Doulton Symphony range is designed to be easy for people with dementia to use while also being pleasing to look at.

The plates and saucers feature embossed patterns, which Bill felt would help someone who is partially sighted.

Jo thought the red bowl and plate were both a ‘lovely’ colour.

Some of the mugs in the set have two handles, which Ted said he would use if drinking something really hot.

Good Grips

The Good Grips cutlery set feature a soft cushion grip that stops the knife, fork or spoon slipping out of someone’s hand, even when wet.

Rita thought they would be good for a person with arthritis, saying she’d previously created a homemade version for her husband Walter.

Each utensil has a special twist built into the metal shaft that allows the cutlery to bend to any angle, which John and his wife Ann both liked.

Next steps

Dementia together magazine: Oct/Nov 17

Dementia together magazine is for everyone in the dementia movement and anyone affected by the condition.
Subscribe now
Dementia together magazine is for everyone in the dementia movement and anyone affected by the condition.
Subscribe now