Compared to other adults, those who are retirement age and older tend to have more difficulty swallowing. This applies to both liquids and solid foods. Dysphagia (trouble swallowing) is a serious condition that can cause aspiration pneumonia, dehydration, and malnutrition. For caregivers, because they can’t really help, it can be very frightening to watch someone who is having difficulty swallowing.
Here, we’re going to look at dysphasia, describe what it is, talk about its seriousness, what causes it, and some common signs of dysphasia.
Dysphasia – What Is It?
As already mentioned, this condition means that the person has trouble swallowing. It’s more common in older adults, but can happen at any age, especially if the person suffers from acid reflux. Dysphasia affects approximately 68% of nursing home residents and 15% of older adults in general.
What’s the Problem?
It’s important for people to be aware of dysphasia because, for retirement age individuals in particular, it can cause serious health problems including:
- Aspiration pneumonia (see “note” below)
- Failure to properly take medication
- Weight loss
- Appetite loss
- Poor nutrition
Note: When liquid or food particles find their way to an individual’s lung, an infection can result known as aspiration pneumonia. In nursing home residents, it is a leading cause of death and hospitalization.
Dysphasia Symptoms and Signs
Sometimes people don’t chew their food well, they may be eating too fast, etc., which can cause difficulty swallowing and choking. This is not the same as dysphasia signs or symptoms. As soon as possible, however, your loved one should visit a doctor if they are frequently having problems swallowing and showing other signs of dysphasia. Here are some things to watch for:
- Problems swallowing drinks or food
- Particular when drinking or eating, a gurgly sounding voice
- Choking on medication, liquids, or food
- While drinking or eating, coughing occurs
Dysphasia has a number of related causes, but some are as follows:
- Certain medications
- Esophagus, throat, or mouth cancer
- Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other cognitive disorders
- GERD (acid reflux)
- Weakening of throat/mouth muscles, associated with aging
- Poorly fitting dentures or teeth that are not in good condition
Discovery A Community That Takes Dietary Restrictions and Circumstances Into Consideration
At our retirement community, three delicious and nutritious, chef-prepared meals are served every day courtesy of our Sensations Dining program. The same meal prep team is responsible for the specialty meals served at our events, in many cases. While they work hard to see to it that all meals are appropriate for retirement age individuals, dietary restrictions or situations do arise that require special care and attention. Thanks to a caring staff, should your loved one have either dietary restrictions or circumstances that make it difficult to eat or swallow, we will work with them and the recommendations of their physician to see to it that the right nutrition is provided.
In addition to delectable meal offerings, we schedule a number of activities to keep everyone socially active, mentally sharp, and physically fit. Check out our current activity calendar for a sample of this month’s goings-on.
Would you like to discuss sales and leasing with a representative? If so, you can phone us at 561.287.6743. With other questions, please phone 561.202-9866. You can also open the lines of communication by filling out and sending in our contact form.
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