Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
Swallowing Changes with Age
Allison Kampmueller, MA CCC-SLP
Porter Hills Home Care
Swallowing disorders can occur as a result of many medical conditions, such as:
- a stroke
- brain injuries
- other neurological conditions that effect the head and neck.
However, even healthy aging adults can experience changes in their swallow function.
Sometimes these changes occur can occur gradually and can be easily accommodated with minor compensations. Other times, they may require seeing a medical professional, such as your doctor or a speech language pathologist, and more specific tests can be completed.
Other reasons for changes:
- dental concerns, such as missing teeth, ill-fitting dentures, or dental pain.
- weakness and decreased coordination of the muscles of the vocal folds, tongue, pharynx, and esophagus.
- medication side effects that can cause dry mouth
- decreased taste or smell
- increased fatigue.
How to compensate for some of these issues:
- take good care of your mouth and teeth
- avoid problematic solid foods
- take small bites and sips of meals ensuring that food is chewed well
- eat slowly
- eat in an upright position
- Take pills one at a time or in applesauce.