Having difficulty swallowing food or liquids is known as dysphagia. It is indeed a serious problem for many older adults that we have to take note of. It can cause dehydration, malnutrition, or aspiration pneumonia. This condition affects many older adults, up to around 6 million people in the United States. Dysphagia usually results from the weakening of throat and mouth muscles. It can be caused by aging, Alzheimer’s or dementia, cancer, multiple sclerosis, or a stroke. Read on to learn about the tips for safely managing dysphagia in older adults.
If the older adult is used to taking oral medications with water, they have to swallow them with a thickened beverage instead. Otherwise, you will need to crush up the pills and mix them in with thicker food such as applesauce or pudding.
Staying hydrated is important for anyone, especially for an older adult. With dysphagia, all water and drinks have to be thickened to prevent aspiration. Thickened liquids take longer to drink as compared to non-thickened ones, so having healthy hydration will need more patience and attention from you.
Getting the Right Nutrition
For many patients with dysphagia, having enough calories, vitamins and minerals can be challenging. There are many ways to incorporate whole foods and nutrients into one’s diet. Adding high-fat foods like yogurt, avocado and cheese can be helpful to increase calorie intake and help older adults maintain their weight. You can easily puree food like beans, steamed vegetables, and fruits to add essential nutrients into their diet.
It is important for older adults to sit upright when drinking and eating so that their food and drink can go down well. If the older adult is in a bed, wheelchair or recliner, you can adjust their backrest to help hold their head up when taking in food and drink.
For people with dysphagia symptoms, they may experience extreme fatigue and weakness which makes eating exhausting. If they are tired, it is hard for them to swallow food and drink correctly. So, they can eat and drink for a short time spread out over the day.
Aston Gardens At Pelican Pointe
At Aston Gardens At Pelican Pointe, we have built a wonderful senior living community especially for you. Our residents will experience a wide variety of fun and exciting activities to keep them active and engaged, as well as to be taken care of by our professional team of staff who are committed to assisting you with your needs, helping you to feel right at home in our community. Get the chance to experience the dream lifestyle you have always wanted.
After reading about tips for safely managing dysphagia in the elderly, you might realize that you need more help to take care of your loved one. If that is the case, do consider staying with us today. Feel free to contact us for more information.