Senior Care Services in Vero Beach FL
Most people take the ability to eat completely for granted. Whether you are eating a full meal or just grabbing a snack or a treat, you likely do not think about the mechanics of eating, including swallowing. For your elderly adult, however, this process may not be as simple and may even be dangerous. Dysphagia is a condition characterized by difficulty swallowing. Though it is possible for anyone to suffer from this condition, it is particularly common among elderly adults, especially those coping with dementia. Dysphagia increases the chances that your aging loved one will choke, making just the seemingly simple process of eating a much more daunting prospect.
Use these tips to help keep your senior with swallowing issues safe while eating:
- Encourage hydration. Many elderly adults deal with dehydration due to naturally lower water content and less thirst signals. This can lead to issues throughout the body. One particular issue that it can cause that relates to dysphagia, however, is dry mouth. If your parent is suffering from a dry mouth they are going to have a harder time bringing the food in their mouth down their throat. Encourage them to stay properly hydrated to deal with their dry mouth. If the dry mouth is due to another condition, find a way to resolve it, such as using mouth rinses or encouraging your parent to suck on a piece of hard candy prior to eating.
- Be patient. Stress and anxiety can worsen difficulties swallowing. Make meal and snack times as calm and stress free as possible. Allow your parent to take their time eating and do not make them feel rushed or pressured in any way.
- Be careful with textures. Some textures of food might be more difficult for your parent to swallow than others. Monitor your parent’s condition over the course of a few days so that you can detect any specific foods or beverages that seem to cause particular issues for them. This can help you to eliminate these foods or prepare them in a different way that will not cause as much difficulty.
- Consider thickening. It is often easier to swallow something slightly thick than it is something thin and runny. Talk to your parent’s doctor about thickening agents that you can add to food and beverages to make them thicker so that they are easier to swallow for your loved one. There are various thickening agents available that can make the food and beverages different degrees of thick, from a honey-like thickness to something the consistency of pudding or even thicker.
Knowing that your elderly loved one is dealing with dysphagia can be quite upsetting and make you nervous about any of the times when you need to leave them alone. Senior care can be the ideal solution in this situation. A senior care services provider can be with your aging parent when you are not able to so that they can monitor them during eating and drinking. This can help them to manage their dysphagia symptoms more effectively and stay safer and healthier during their meals and snacks.
If you or an aging loved one are in need of senior care services in Vero Beach, FL or the surrounding areas, contact the caring professionals at Treasure Coast Home Health Care. Call today at (772) 678-3324.
We are licensed by the Agency for Healthcare Administration in Florida. As a licensed nurse registry, we refer private duty caregivers to clients in need of personal care services and assistance with every day activities. We are providers of medical and non-medical health care services.
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