More than 40 percent of those who have had strokes will also experience difficulty swallowing, a condition known as dysphagia. This can make it difficult to consume enough nutrients and vitamins throughout the day, and it can pose challenges with taking prescribed medications. Although it can take several years to enhance the ability to swallow, here are a few steps family caregivers can take to help their senior loved ones and ensure safety while eating.
Talk with a Professional
One of the first things you should do is schedule an appointment with a speech-language pathologist, since the muscles used for speaking are the same as the ones used to swallow. The speech-language pathologist will perform a test to determine how the muscles in the mouth move and how well the voice box is functioning as well as a modified barium swallow test to reveal what foods can be swallowed properly. From there, the pathologist will be able to create an individualized diet plan that includes foods that are easy for your loved one to swallow and that will also prevent dehydration and malnutrition from occurring.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Ensure Safety while Eating
When consuming food, your loved one should sit at a 90-degree angle and remain in the same position for 30 minutes after completing the meal. Your loved one should also take small bites and sips. All of the food should be completely swallowed before taking the next bite, and straws should be avoided while consuming beverages to prevent the liquid from leaking back into the airway. The Stroke Association suggests some people may also find it helpful to turn their heads to the side to protect their airways as they eat.
Another great way to help your loved one is to enjoy a meal together. Taking time to sit, relax, and dine together may encourage your loved one to eat at his or her own pace to prevent complications with swallowing.
Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality senior Home Care. Columbia families trust Assisting Hands Home Care to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.
Get Outside Help
If your loved one is recovering from a stroke and his or her care needs are becoming too difficult for you to handle alone, know that help is available. Along with in-person support groups in the local community and online forums, you can also turn to friends, family, and professional caregivers to assist with some of your loved one’s day-to-day needs.
Recovering from a stroke, managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other health-related situations can make it difficult for a senior to continue living at home without someone there to help. Columbia, MD, live-in care professionals are trained to help seniors who need 24/7 assistance. With the help of a live-in caregiver, your elderly loved one can maintain a higher quality of life while aging in place. To create a comprehensive in-home care plan for your loved one, call us at (443) 233-1245 today.