Common Swallowing Problems for Aging Adults

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Swallowing Difficulties Seniors May Face in Anchorage, AK

Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, often affects seniors who have developed certain health conditions. To minimize the risk of choking, it’s important to understand the underlying reason for your senior loved one’s swallowing problem so protective measures can be implemented. Here are a few of the most common swallowing issues older adults face and some tips on how to alleviate them. 

Dry Mouth

Seniors who take certain medications or have disorders affecting saliva production are likely to experience difficulty swallowing their food. This is because saliva breaks down the food and lubricates the throat. Seniors with dry mouth may need extra liquids with their meals, and severe dryness may need to be addressed with medical treatment. 

Neurological Disorders

Family members should watch for signs of swallowing problems after a loved one is diagnosed with a neurological issue because damage to the nervous system could affect swallowing. Stroke survivors frequently encounter difficulty with swallowing, as do those with dementia, Parkinson’s, and brain tumors. Encouraging your loved one to eat slowly can give the nerves more time to communicate so he or she swallows more effectively. 

Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Anchorage families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life.

Blockages Caused by Diseases

Sometimes a problem with swallowing is a symptom of an underlying health issue such as a tumor. Cancer of the esophagus or larynx can create a blockage that inhibits food from passing. Infections, radiotherapy treatment, and gastroesophageal reflux disease can also create scar tissue that makes swallowing difficult. Removing the obstruction through surgery may make swallowing easier for some seniors. However, others may require smaller bites and softer food to prevent choking. 

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of homecare services families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Chewing Difficulties

Muscular weakness or dental problems can make it harder for seniors to properly chew their food. Seniors with missing teeth or ill-fitting dentures may need dental treatment to restore their chewing and swallowing abilities. Therapeutic jaw exercises can also help seniors regain their muscular strength. It’s important to remember seniors with swallowing problems should never be left unsupervised while eating. Instead, sharing meals with a companion who can provide encouragement and create meals with smaller bites can safeguard against choking. A professional caregiver can assist your loved one with mealtime tasks such as these. 

Anchorage home care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers. Reach out to us at Home Care Assistance if you need compassionate professional care for your loved one. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (907) 770-0907 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.


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