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Hingham couple develops ergonomic cup that helps elderly and others |

Hingham couple develops ergonomic cup that helps elderly and others

“Regular cups put a strain on ligaments and tendons in the hand. Ours is anatomically neutral so when you hold the cup all ligaments and tendons are at rest which means little or no strain.”


It was painful for Hingham resident Allen Arseneau to watch his 84-year-old grandfather, the patriarch of the family and a Korean War veteran who fought with the 82nd Airborne and was nicknamed “Hercules,” because of his strength, struggle to drink water from a paper cup in the dining room of his senior living facility.

“He said do me, ‘do me a favor, don’t get old’,” Arseneau recalls of the man who raised him and he still looks up to as his hero. “ ‘Everything hurts,’ he said to me. ‘My hand hurts. My wrist hurts.‘I looked around and saw there were older women in the dining room struggling to hold their cups and a light bulb went on,” said Arseneau, 39, who has a chemical engineering degree from Northeastern and a graduate degree in business from Stanford University. “So I thought, okay let’s make a cup for my grandfather.”

And a local business with worldwide distribution was born.

Arseneau and his wife Diana, who is vice president of the company and holds a biology degree from Harvard University, spent the next four years developing a porcelain cup with a cutout handle as well as dishes for seniors who have trouble manipulating traditional cups and dishes due to arthritis and other mobility issues.

The couple took the prototype to Boston University Professor Karen Jacobs, who is also former president of American Occupational Therapy Association who gave them tips on how to make the cup ergonomic.

The lightweight porcelain cups have a cutout handle that supports hand, wrist and the arm up to the elbow, Arseneau explains. “Regular cups put a strain on ligaments and tendons in the hand. Ours is anatomically neutral so when you hold the cup all ligaments and tendons are at rest which means little or no strain.”

The dinnerware comes in single items or 16 piece sets in red, blue and white and resemble contemporary dining sets. “We are going for a sleek, modern look and functional execution,” Areseneau says. The dinnerware sets are unique because they can be used by the whole family instead of having an older person singled out who might be struggling with traditional cups and plates.

Jamber cups are used by residents in multiple senior facilities including Benchmark, Sunrise, Brookdale and Queen Ann Nursing Home in Hingham. Benchmark Senior Living residents began using the cups with great results.

Before using the Jamber cup, residents wore bibs because they struggled to hold a traditional cup and keep the liquid from spilling, Arseneau says. “Within days of using Jamber cups bibs went away because the spills went away.”

Jamber cups are used in 37 states and Canada. All Jamber products are made in the USA in Tuscon, Arizona at H.F. Coors which is owned and operated by a triple purple heart Vietnam veteran, according to Arseneau.

The couple are in the process of getting an Amazon store up in running in the next week where consumers can purchase the dinnerware. A jamber cup will be priced at $15.99 and shipping is free. Jamber’s newest creation is a Hingham cup which displays the 02043 zip code.

The Arseneaus have resided in Hingham for five years with their 10-year-old daughter, Shauna and 10 week old baby William. Jamber’s office is located in Hull.

Arseneau says Jamber is built on a Stanford University tagline: Change lives, change organizations, change the world. “We are trying to change the world,” he says.

 

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