Trouble with swallowing can be a common problem for older adults for a variety of reasons. As your senior’s caregiver, you might have to take a look at the various possible causes and contributing factors so you can help find a solution.
Address Heartburn for Your Senior
Heartburn is a sometimes-forgotten cause of problems with swallowing, because it causes discomfort in the throat and upper abdomen. Talk to your senior’s doctor about what to do if she’s experiencing heartburn. There may be dietary changes or even another solution that can make a big difference for your elderly family member.
Offer Smaller Meals
Smaller meals are often helpful, too, because they can give your senior a chance to get some food into her system and then rest for a bit. If she’s worried about eating a full meal, that stress may make swallowing even more difficult for her. Remember to try foods that are cut into smaller pieces or that have a soft texture so that they’re easier to ingest.
Try Offering Food More Often
Something to try in conjunction with offering smaller meals is to offer food more often. When you’re doing both together, that gives your elderly family member a chance to get all of the nutrients that she needs throughout the day. Talk to your senior about what times of day are the most comfortable for her to eat. She can help you to put together a schedule that works for her appetite.
Eating Alone May Be Even Scarier Now
Some people find it uncomfortable to eat alone, but if your elderly family member has significant trouble swallowing, she may want to avoid eating alone completely. Eating alone is a big challenge even for a healthy person, so finding ways for her to have company during meals and snacks can be important. She may be able to eat more slowly because she’s more relaxed.
Make Note of Which Foods and Drinks Are the Worst Problems
Every person who has difficulty swallowing has issues with different foods and drinks. It’s a good idea to keep track of which ones are the issues for your senior. That can help you to put together meal and snack plans that you know are going to be much easier for her to eat.
This can be a complicated situation for your elderly family member. Finding a way to solve the problem without making her feel she’s doing something wrong is really important.