Common Swallowing Problems for Elderly Adults

If you’ve noticed your senior loved one choking on water or having trouble swallowing, read on. Difficulty swallowing, also known as dysphagia, is common among elderly adults.

Difficulty swallowing can be scary to witness, as it is a significant choking hazard and can come on quickly. It can also make it more difficult for your loved one to do everyday things like eating and sleeping. Here are some of the most common symptoms to look for and the reasons this might be happening. 

Symptoms of Difficulty Swallowing

Sometimes it is obvious that an older adult is having trouble swallowing. For example, if they are choking on water or food or complaining about the problem. However, there are other less obvious symptoms of dysphagia that you should look for in elderly adults, including:

  • Drooling
  • Taking a long time to finish a drink or food
  • Gurgling noises after they’ve eaten or had something to drink
  • Avoiding eating or drinking

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to talk to your loved one about what may be going on. It is also a good idea to consult with a doctor.

Common Reasons for Swallowing Problems

About 15% of elderly adults experience some sort of swallowing problem. The problem usually does not present on its own but rather as a symptom of an underlying condition. If your loved one is experiencing dysphagia and resides in a skilled nursing facility in St. Augustine, FL, tell the staff. 

Poor Oral Health

Poor oral health can lead to a long list of complications, including diseases in the mouth and difficulty swallowing. A good dental hygiene routine and regular visits to the dentist will ensure that elderly adults do not experience difficulty swallowing due to poor oral health.

Ill-Fitting Dentures

Many elderly adults use dentures at some point in life. If the dentures do not fit well, it can cause several problems in the mouth, like sores or even infections. It can also make it more difficult to swallow. Getting dentures adjusted is easy and can be a quick fix to any difficulty swallowing.

Medication Side Effects

If you’ve noticed an elderly adult is suddenly having difficulty swallowing, an excellent place to start to look is any medications they may be on. Medications can often have side effects that produce excess saliva or impact muscles in the mouth and throat. Talk to the doctor about a different medication if this is the case.

Cognitive Disorders

Cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s are common at later stages in life and can often lead to symptoms like difficulty swallowing. It is always a good idea to get tested regularly for cognitive disorders. There’s also plenty of good memory care in St. Augustine if you think it’s time to make some lifestyle changes in your loved one’s life.

Assisted Living in Saint Augustine

Saint Augustine is a wonderful place to retire and enjoy the later years in life, and transitioning to assisted living is easier than ever. This northeast coast city in Florida is home to some of the leading facilities in the nation.

Worried about your loved one? A good community for assisted living in Saint Augustine can help residents with any medical issues they may experience and ensure they are safe. Talk to your providers to learn more!

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