Many of us take the act of eating and swallowing for granted. It’s just something we do every day, without giving much thought or appreciation for the complicated process of chewing and moving food from our mouths to our stomachs. However, for seniors with dysphagia, swallowing becomes difficult and painful, and eating can be a real struggle.
Dysphagia is the medical term for difficulty swallowing. Although occasional swallowing difficulties are normal from time to time, such as eating too quickly or not chewing well enough, persistent dysphagia is cause for concern and may require medical treatment.
Although dysphagia can occur at any age, it is more common in older adults. There are several potential causes of dysphagia, so sometimes it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause. Typically, this swallowing disorder is caused by damage or weakness in the nerves or muscles that control chewing and swallowing movements. Some common causes of dysphagia include:
The symptoms of dysphagia can become more severe over time. It’s important to keep a close eye on your senior loved one before, during and after meals to make sure there are no issues with chewing or swallowing difficulties.
If you see the following signs occur around mealtime, it’s important to discuss these issues with a medical professional.
If your loved one is living with dysphagia, there are a number of strategies and exercises you can try to improve the act of swallowing and make it easier for him or her to enjoy mealtime.
If your senior parent or loved one is experiencing difficulty swallowing, it’s important to seek medical advice as soon as possible. At Advent Christian Village, our skilled and dedicated professional team of therapists have a reputation for providing quality senior care in a nurturing, comforting environment.
In addition to treating swallowing and speech disorders, ACV Rehab specializes in other short and long-term rehabilitation services for a wide range of conditions, including injuries, post-stroke rehab, mobility issues and joint replacements. For more information about therapy that makes a difference, contact us today.