How You Can Help Your Parent with Swallowing Problems

Swallowing problems can be frustrating, embarrassing, and even dangerous for your aging parent.

If they are living with Parkinson’s disease, this might be a symptom they deal with as they progress through the disease. Many elderly adults do not immediately relate struggles they are having with PD-associated swallowing problems. If your parent has recently lost weight, is eating a very limited diet, chokes or coughs while eating or drinking, or avoids eating or drinking, they might be dealing with these issues. As their family caregiver, it is important to take steps to help them cope with these problems so they can stay safer and remain healthy as they cope with dysphagia.

Some ways you can help your parent cope with difficulty swallowing from Parkinson’s disease include:

Encourage your parent to “train” their swallowing

Their doctor can help them learn exercises that can help to strengthen the muscles used to swallow. One way they can do this is by swallowing hard and focusing on the process.

Take your time when eating

A senior who feels rushed or pressured when they are eating is more likely to have difficulty swallowing, and experience issues such as choking or aspiration. Plan for plenty of time when your parent will be eating or drinking, and encourage them to relax.

Ask about changing their food or beverages

Talk to their doctor about making adjustments to the foods and drinks your parent may consume. Somes textures are easier than others to swallow. Your parent’s doctor might recommend using thickeners to make liquids easier to consume.

Eat thoughtfully

When your parent is eating, encourage them to pay attention to the process. Take bites that are not overwhelming, and chew thoroughly to make swallowing easier.

How Can Home Care Services Help?

One of the most beneficial aspects of elder care is the fully customizable nature of the services available to your aging parent. An elderly home care services provider is available to your parent on a schedule that is right for them and their needs, ensuring they have access to exactly the care, assistance, and support that they need. This will allow them to manage their challenges and dysphagia symptoms, while also promoting as much independence, activity, and fulfillment as possible as they age. For a senior living with swallowing problems, these services can include meal preparation, companionship during meals, and eating assistance to keep them safe and help them get the nutrition they need.

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If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring professional caregivers in Yakima, WA, please contact the caring staff at Solutions today. We serve all of the Tri-Cities area.  Call 509-627-8575.