Title:
Assisting instrument for drinking and eating
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A compact drinking/eating assisting instrument can be used when a person lies down on a bed or at a place other than the bed, and also poses no risk that it falls toward the face of a help-needing person. The main body of the drinking/eating assisting instrument is formed of a flexible coating member so as to have a bag-like shape, and a fluid member is filled in the bag-like member so as to be fluidized.



Inventors:
Osugi, Chisato (Ono-shi, JP)
Application Number:
11/368412
Publication Date:
09/14/2006
Filing Date:
03/07/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D25/24
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAN, KO HUNG
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BIRCH, STEWART, KOLASCH & BIRCH, LLP (FALLS CHURCH, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A drinking/eating assisting instrument on which a container for drinking/eating including a baby bottle, a plastic bottle, a bowl, a cup or a dish is mounted, wherein at least the upper portion of the main body of the drinking/eating assisting instrument is formed of a flexibly-deformable

1. A drinking/eating assisting instrument on which a container for drinking/eating including a baby bottle, a plastic bottle, a bowl, a cup or a dish is mounted wherein at least the upper portion of the main body of the drinking/eating assisting instrument is formed of a flexibly-deformable material so that when the drinking/eating container is mounted on the assisting instrument, the reception face of the upper surface thereof is pressed by the drinking and eating container and deformed along the shape of the mount portion of the drinking/eating container to support the drinking/eating container.

2. The drinking/eating assisting instrument according to claim 1, wherein the main body of the drinking/eating assisting instrument is formed of a flexible coating member so as to have a bag-like shape, and a fluid member is filled in the bag-like member of the coating member so as to be fluidized.

3. The drinking/eating assisting instrument according to claim 1, wherein the coating member of the reception face is formed of a stretchable sheet member having a high friction coefficient.

4. The drinking/eating assisting instrument according to claim 3, wherein adhesive agent such as an elastomer resin or silicon resin is impregnated in or attached to the coating member of the reception face.

5. The drinking/eating assisting instrument according to claim 2, wherein the fluid member filled in the bag-like member formed of the coating member comprises bead-like minute members of foamed plastic.

6. The drinking/eating assisting instrument according to claim 2, wherein the fluid member filled in the bag-like member formed of the coating member is formed of a synthetic resin having a low repulsive property or elastomer resin.

7. The drinking/eating assisting instrument according to claim 1, wherein the main body of the drinking/eating instrument is formed of a synthetic resin having a low repulsive property or elastomer resin.

8. The drinking/eating assisting instrument according to claim 1, wherein the drinking/eating container is a drink container of a baby bottle or a plastic bottle, and the drink container is held n the reception face under the state that the drink container is inclined with the tap thereof facing obliquely downward or erected with the tap thereof facing upward.

9. The drinking/eating assisting instrument according to claim 3, wherein the main body of the drinking/eating instrument is designed in a polyhedral shape so that one surface thereof corresponding to the reception face is slanted.

10. The drinking/eating assisting instrument according to claim 2, wherein the coating member of the reception face is formed of a stretchable sheet member having a high friction coefficient.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an assisting instrument for drinking and eating that is suitably usable when a help-needing person such as a patient, an elderly person, an infant or the like drinks/eats, and particularly to an assisting instrument that can be used even when he/she lies down on his/her bed or at a place other than the bed.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In many cases, assistance service by helpers is required to help in eating/drinking of muscle-weakened persons such as patients, elder persons, etc., who are confined to their beds for a long time. Furthermore, when an infant is breast-fed by using a baby bottle, assistance of his/her mother or the like is generally needed. When a helper or the mother is absent, it is very inconvenient for a help-needing person, such as a muscle-weakened person, an infant or the like, to be provided with service.

Furthermore, there has been proposed a drinking assisting instrument designed so that a support post is provided to a base so as to stand up from the base, a clip or a receiving portion is provided to the tip of the support post adjustable in height and angle, a drink container such as a baby bottle or the like is held or mounted on the tip of the support post and the tap of the drink container is located on the lips of a help-needing person, or a drinking assisting instrument in which a fixing seat is fixed to the frame of a bed, a pair of ribbons are suspended from the fixing seat, rings are provided to the tips of the ribbons so that the neck portion and the lower portion of a drink container are inserted through the rings so as to be held, and the tap of the drink container is located on the lips of a help-needing person.

However, the conventional drinking assisting instrument is designed so that the drink container is held at the tip of the support post and the tap of the drink container is disposed so as to face the help-needing person from the upper side thereof. Therefore, the assisting instrument is liable to be bulky, and when a place at which the base is mounted, such as a bed, a futon or the like is unstable, the assisting instrument may fall toward the face of the help-needing person. Therefore, this is not preferable for safety.

Furthermore, there is known a drinking assisting instrument that is fixed to the frame of a bed. This drinking assisting instrument poses no risk that it falls toward the face of an infant or a patient, however, it cannot be used when a help-needing person lies down at a place other than the bed.

The present invention has been implemented in view of the foregoing problem, and has an object to provide a drinking assisting instrument that can be used even when a help-needing person lies down on a bed or at a place other than the bed.

MEANS OF SOLVING THE PROBLEM

The inventor of this application has eagerly-made studies and manufactured prototypes repeatedly in order to solve the above problem, and has implemented the present invention by paying attention to the technical idea that the upper surface of a drinking assisting instrument is set as a reception face for receiving a drink container and the slippage of the drink container is prevented by the reception face, whereby the drink container can be held in a desired posture on the reception face of the assisting instrument, and also the present invention can be applied to general containers for drinking and eating including not only drink containers, but also bowls, dishes, etc.

A drinking/eating assisting instrument according to the present invention is a drinking/eating assisting instrument on which a container for drinking/eating such as a baby bottle, a plastic bottle, a bowl, a cup, a dish or the like is mounted, and it is characterized in that at least the upper portion of the main body of the drinking/eating assisting instrument is formed of a flexibly-deformable material so that when the drinking/eating container is mounted on the assisting instrument, the reception face of the upper surface thereof is pressed by the drinking and eating container and deformed along the shape of the mount portion of the drinking/eating container to support the drinking/eating container.

According to the present invention, the drinking/eating container can be held in a desired posture by mounting the drinking and eating container on the reception face of the assisting instrument main body.

Accordingly, the assisting instrument main body may be placed near the face of a drinking/eating person, for example, on a bed or a futon near the face, or on the chest. Therefore, the assisting instrument can be used even when a drinking/eating person lies down on a bed or at a place other than the bed, and also the assisting instrument main body is not bulky. Accordingly, there is no risk that the assisting instrument falls toward the face and thus it is safe. By designing the assisting instrument in a polyhedral shape so as to have a slanting reception face, the height thereof in the mount direction can be suitably set.

For example, when a drink container such as a baby bottle or the like is held at a prescribed place, the drink container can be held on the reception face while being inclined with the tap thereof facing obliquely downward or erected with the tap thereof facing upward and set at a suitable height.

That is, at least the upper side portion of the assisting instrument main body is designed to be deformable by pressing, and the drinking/eating container is mounted on the reception face of the assisting instrument main body so that at least the upper side portion of the assisting instrument main body is deformed, whereby the drinking/eating container can be brought into contact with the reception face of the assisting instrument main body over a broad area, and held on the reception face of the assisting instrument main body in a desired posture.

By constructing the assisting instrument so that at least the upper side portion thereof is deformable by pressing as described above, at least the upper side portion of the assisting instrument main body is deformed when the drinking/eating container is mounted on the reception face and the drinking/eating container is pressed against the reception face as occasion demands, and thus the drink container can be held in a desired posture. Therefore, a help-needing person can drink or eat smoothly.

For example, a patient, an elderly person or the like can smoothly drink water, juice or the like from a proper drink container such as a drink container having a drinking straw by turning his/her face toward his/her side or toward his/her chest, or an infant can smoothly drink milk from a baby bottle by turning his/her face toward his/her side. That is, they can drink/eat safely even when no helper is present.

Furthermore, a container such as a bowl, a dish or the like can be held while safely being mounted on the reception face of the assisting instrument main body. Accordingly, a patient, an elderly person or the like can smoothly scoop and eat food on his/her own by using a spoon or the like, or a helper can handle a spoon or the like with one hand and scoop food from a drinking/eating container to help a patient, an elderly person or the like to eat the food smoothly while supporting the patient, the elderly person or the like with the other hand.

The assisting instrument main body may be designed to be deformable by pressing at least the upper side portion thereof. For example, the whole of the assisting instrument, or the whole or an upper side portion, for example, the upper half portion of the assisting instrument main body is constructed by putting a fluid member in a bag-like member acting as a coating so that the fluid member can be fluidized.

Any material may be used as the coating material insofar as it does not obstruct the fluidity of the fluid member, and for example, flexible thin woven cloth or non-woven cloth, or a flexible soft resin sheet such as a polyvinyl chloride sheet, a silicon resin sheet or the like may be used. In order to prevent slippage, it is preferable that an adhesive agent such as an elastomer resin, silicon resin or the like is impregnated into or attached to the mount surface of the bag-like member on which a drinking/eating container is mounted and/or the bottom surface thereof when it is set up, and further it is preferable that the reception face is stretchable.

Furthermore, any material may be used as the fluid member insofar as it has fluidity, and for example, many minute spherical members, fine particles, powder and granular materials, powder, particles or gel materials may be used. Particularly, it is preferable that many minute spheres (fluid member) such as light and inexpensive expanded polystyrene are filled.

Still furthermore, at least the upper side portion, for example the upper half portion of the assisting instrument main body, or the whole of the assisting instrument main body may be designed so as to include a argilliferous member that is deformable by pressing. For example, the argilliferous member may be directly exposed, or it may be constructed by putting an argilliferous member in a coating similar to the coating described above. Any material may be used as the argilliferous member insofar as it is deformable by pressing, and synthetic resin of a polymer having low repulsive property or an elastomer resin may be used, for example.

It is important that the reception face of the assisting instrument main body can hold the drinking/eating container. For example, the drinking/eating container may be held by using a coating having a high viscosity or high friction coefficient such as a silicon resin coating or polyvinyl chloride coating, and particularly a stretchable material is preferably used as the coating because it can elastically hold the drinking/eating container. Furthermore, many projections for preventing slippage may be formed on at least the reception face of the coating so as to hold the drinking/eating container.

The drinking/eating container may be a drinking/eating container with which a person can drink/eat while he/she lies down, such as a baby bottle, a plastic bottle having a tap which is designed so that food or drink can flow out therefrom by pressing the tap, or a container such as a bowl, a cup, a dish or the like may be used. A tap disclosed in Japanese Published Unexamined Patent Application No. 2000-62815 may be used as the tap designed so that food or drink can flow out therefrom by pressing the tap.

Furthermore, the assisting instrument main body may be used while being fixed to a slanting portion near the face, a backrest of a chair (containing a baby carriage, a wheelchair), a frame of a chair (containing a baby carriage, a wheelchair) by an adhesive tape, a clamping fastener (for example, trade name: magic tape), magnet or a length-adjustable belt having hooks at both the ends thereof. In this case, the disposable range of the assisting instrument main body can be enlarged.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a diagram showing a use example of an embodiment of a drinking/eating assisting instrument according to the present invention;

FIG. 2(a), (b) are partially broken perspective views showing use examples of the drinking/eating assisting instrument suitably set;

FIG. 3 is a diagram showing a use example of another drinking/eating assisting instrument of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view showing the above embodiment;

FIGS. 5(a), (b) are diagrams showing a user state of the above embodiment;

FIGS. 6(a), (b), (c) are diagrams showing other embodiments;

FIGS. 7 (a)˜(e) are diagrams showing other embodiments; and

FIGS. 8 (a)˜(c) are diagrams showing another embodiments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention will be described hereinafter on the basis of the embodiment shown in the drawings. FIGS. 1 and 2 show preferred embodiments of a drinking/eating assisting instrument according to the present invention. In FIGS. 1 and 2, a drinking/eating assisting instrument main body 11 of a drinking/eating assisting instrument 10 is designed as a small receiving table having a polyhedral shape that is rectangular in plan view and trapezoidal in side view, and a reception face corresponding to one surface of the polyhedral shape is designed to be slanted.

The drinking/eating assisting instrument main body 11 is manufactured as follows. For example, many bead type minute spherical members (fluid member) 9 of expanded polystyrene or the like are filled in a bag-like member of a flexible and soft coating 12 in which both the side surfaces thereof are formed of cotton cloth and the peripheral surfaces such as the upper surface, the slanting surface, the bottom surface, the back surface thereof are formed of stretchable cloth achieved by mix-spinning polyester yarn with polyurethane yarn, and the peripheral surfaces of the coating 12 are provided with a slippage preventing property and adhesive property. As occasion demands, projections 13 for preventing slippage may be fixed to the surface of the coating 12 as shown in FIGS. 3 to 5. Rubber material, silicon resin material or the like may be used for the projections 13, and in place of the minute beads of the foamed plastic, buckwheat chaff of natural material or small pieces of straws may also be used as the fluid member.

Furthermore, for example when an infant is breast-fed while lying down on a futon, as shown in FIGS. 1 to 3, the assisting instrument main body 11 is placed near the face of the infant on the futon so that the slanting surface of the reception face is disposed at a proper angle, and a baby bottle (drinking/eating container) 20 in which milk is filled is placed on the reception face 11A of the assisting instrument main body 11 and pressed against the reception face 11A, whereby the minute beads or the like in the assisting instrument main body 11 is fluidized and the reception face 11A is concaved. Therefore, the reception face 11A receives the baby bottle 20 with a broad contact area, and the baby bottle 20 is prevented from slipping while being disposed in an inclined posture with the tap 20A thereof facing downward, and held in that posture. By providing the bottom surface of the assisting instrument with a slippage preventing property, it makes it hard for the assisting instrument main body 11 to move.

When an infant turns his/her face toward his/her side, the tap 20A of the baby bottle 20 approaches his/her lips. Therefore, the infant can drink milk by putting the tap 20A of the baby bottle 20 in his/her mouth and sucking the milk.

Furthermore, when the upper surface of the futon is inclined, by mounting the assisting instrument main body 11 with the slanting surface thereof placed face down, the assisting instrument main body 11 is stabilized as shown in FIG. 5(b), and the baby bottle 20 can be reliably held.

When the assisting instrument main body 11 is mounted on a slanting portion as described above, the positional displacement can be prevented by using an adhesive tape, a clamping fastener (trade name: magic tape).

FIG. 6 shows modifications of other embodiments. The shape of the assisting instrument main body 11 may be designed not only in heptahedral or hexahedral shape, but also in a cylindrical shape as shown in FIG. 6(a) or in any shape as shown in FIGS. 6(b) and (c).

In the embodiment and the modifications, beads of a plastic material, particularly foamed material are used. However, a gel material may be used in place of the minute beads. Furthermore, the assisting instrument main body 11 may be manufactured by using a synthetic resin of a polymer having low repulsive property, for example, a foamed urethane resin, or an argilliferous member such as an elastomer resin or the like.

FIG. 7 shows other embodiments. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 7(a), a cup, for example, a nursing-care cup 50 is kept in a standing posture, and the reception face of the assisting instrument main body 11 is made to embrace the nursing-care cup 60 so as to hold the cup.

In the embodiments shown in FIGS. 7(b) and (c), a tap is secured to a plastic bottle (drinking/eating container) 52, and it is held by the assisting instrument main body 11 while being inclined or erected.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 7(d), a bowl (drinking/eating container) 52 is put on the reception face of the assisting instrument main body 11 and pressed against the reception face so that the bowl 52 is held in that posture.

FIG. 8 shows other embodiments. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 8(a), the assisting instrument main body 11 is designed in a flat-plate shape, and various kinds of drinking/eating containers such as a cup 53, a dish 54, bowls 55 and 57 a monkey dish 56, etc., can be held in desired postures.

In the embodiments shown in FIGS. 8(b) and (c), the assisting instrument main body 11 may be fixed to any place of a baby carriage 62 and a wheelchair 63 by using a band 64 as shown in FIG. 8(c).