As they get older, many seniors may have to deal with new health problems. Many of those problems aren't things people think about on a regular basis. One of those is swallowing.

Swallowing can change with age, and certain medical conditions can cause problems with the way people swallow, affecting how they eat and drink. Things like a stroke, a brain injury, Parkinson's Disease, or other neurological disorder that affects the head and neck can have an impact on the muscles that work to make a person swallow.

Even completely healthy adults can see a change. They may happen gradually, and be accommodated easily with minor compensations, or the changes may require a medical professional, like a speech language pathologist or a doctor to see what kind of treatment is needed.

Some of the things that can cause the change are missing teeth, ill-fitting dentures, medication side effects causing dry mouth, a decreased sense of taste of smell, a weakness and decreased coordination of the muscles of the vocal folds, tongue, pharynx, and esophagus, or increased fatigue.

You can make accommodations for the challenge with some simple changes.

  • Take good care of your mouth and teeth
  • Avoid problematic solid foods
  • Take small bites and sips of meals insuring that food is chewed well
  • Eat slowly
  • Eat in an upright position
  • Take pills one at a time or in applesauce

You can contact Porter Hills for other information about senior health or services in West Michigan.

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