Older adults’ teeth are often weak or absent. The mucosal surfaces in the mouth and throat are less moist. There is a loss of muscle strength in the mouth and throat that slows swallowing and makes it difficult to swallow hard or dry solid foods.
What is the most likely reason older adults have difficulty swallowing?
Aging. Due to natural aging and normal wear and tear on the esophagus as well as a greater risk of certain conditions, such as stroke or Parkinson’s disease, older adults are at higher risk of swallowing difficulties.
How can elderly improve their swallowing?
As example, you may be asked to:
- Inhale and hold your breath very tightly.
- Pretend to gargle while holding your tongue back as far as possible.
- Pretend to yawn while holding your tongue back as far as possible.
- Do a dry swallow, squeezing all of your swallowing muscles as tightly as you can.
How is dysphagia treated in the elderly?
- Postural adjustments.
- Swallow maneuvers.
- Diet modifications: modification of foods/liquids.
- Thickened liquids.
- Limitations of thickened liquids.
- Modified food diets.
- Limitations of modified solids.
- Feeding dependence and targeted feeding.
How do you feed an elderly person who can’t swallow?
Avoid feeding them breads with raisins, nuts or seeds, along with hard, dry crackers or cereals. If they can tolerate thin liquids, first moisten the cereal, bread or crackers with milk or another liquid. Rice or pastas that are well-cooked are also good choices for those with a swallowing impairment.
When should I be worried about trouble swallowing?
You should see your doctor to determine the cause of your swallowing difficulties. Call a doctor right away if you’re also having trouble breathing or think something might be stuck in your throat. If you have sudden muscle weakness or paralysis and can’t swallow at all, call 911 or go to the emergency room.
How do you feed someone who can’t swallow?
Drink fluids (including soups and shakes ) throughout the day. Increase calories by adding cream, butter, sour cream or milk to recipes, and jellies or honey to sweeten foods. To increase protein intake, use milk instead of water in recipes and add powdered milk to cereals, puddings and mashed potatoes.
How do you cure swallowing problems?
Treatment for dysphagia includes:
- Exercises for your swallowing muscles. If you have a problem with your brain, nerves, or muscles, you may need to do exercises to train your muscles to work together to help you swallow.
- Changing the foods you eat.
What to feed someone who has trouble swallowing?
Choose foods that are easy to swallow. Try breakfast foods like instant oatmeal, grits, pancakes, waffles, and cold cereal that has been softened in milk. For a main dish, try chicken, tuna or egg salad, soups and stews, soft cooked fish, tofu, and meatloaf.
What happens when an elderly person can’t swallow?
Some older adults have trouble swallowing food or liquids. This serious condition is called dysphagia and could cause malnutrition, dehydration, or aspiration pneumonia. For caregivers, it’s scary to watch someone who’s having trouble swallowing and not be able to help.
Can dysphagia be life threatening?
Appropriate supportive care is important because dysphagia can be life-threatening and last for a long time.
What are the stages of dysphagia?
What is dysphagia?
- Oral preparatory phase. During this phase, you chew your food to a size, shape, and consistency that can be swallowed.
- Pharyngeal phase. Here, the muscles of your pharynx contract in sequence.
- Esophageal phase. The muscles in your esophagus contract in sequence to move the bolus toward your stomach.
Do elderly forget to swallow?
As Alzheimer’s disease goes on, your loved one may take longer and longer to eat. They forget to swallow. It’s common for people who’ve had the disease for a long time to keep food in their mouth and not swallow it. They have trouble using the muscles that let them swallow.
Is difficulty swallowing a symptom of dementia?
As dementia progresses it affects the area of the brain that controls swallowing. In advanced dementia the person may have a weak swallow or lose the ability to swallow safely. For example, they may cough or choke after swallowing food or drinks.
How long can dysphagia last?
Studies show that most individuals with dysphagia recover within two weeks.