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Foods that are Easy to Chew/Swallow
Old 06-07-2008, 05:57 PM   #1
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Foods that are Easy to Chew/Swallow

It's my turn to take care of my 92 year old mom. She's doing well considering she was in hospice two years ago!

One problem is that she has trouble chewing and swallowing food, and has a tendency to choke (her doc knows about this).

Anybody have experience with which foods are best in this situation? I can't find any pattern. Cream of Wheat good, rice bad, chicken good, avocado bad, ice cream bad, etc. It may just be a random thing.

Thanks.
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Old 06-07-2008, 06:04 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
It's my turn to take care of my 92 year old mom. She's doing well considering she was in hospice two years ago!

One problem is that she has trouble chewing and swallowing food, and has a tendency to choke (her doc knows about this).

Anybody have experience with which foods are best in this situation? I can't find any pattern. Cream of Wheat good, rice bad, chicken good, avocado bad, ice cream bad, etc. It may just be a random thing.

Thanks.
I assume if her doc is aware then she has had a consult with a speech therapist; I would call that therapist up and ask him/her for suggestions.
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Old 06-07-2008, 06:57 PM   #3
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Home made cooked till tender soups. I used to make large pots for everyone and pull a small pot out for grandma and then simmer it for another hour. Could also be a creaminess factor (think about throat coating) from the few items you mentioned Al.
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Old 06-07-2008, 07:12 PM   #4
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Usually one of her health care team can tell you whether she does best on liquids (milk shake consistency at most), puree, soft, or regular. The last three can usually be handled by a blender using almost any food. Liquid usually ends up requiring some type of nutritional supplement.

What were your siblings feeding her? Probably you best guide.
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As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
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Old 06-07-2008, 08:45 PM   #5
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I just returned from taking care of my Mom with some of the same problems . I feed her pasta with chopped up protein and lots of soups . She really liked the noodles with chicken . She also took ensure .
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Old 06-07-2008, 10:34 PM   #6
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If it's available, try papaya.
Also, baby food recommendations may also be helpful in your situation.
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Old 06-08-2008, 07:43 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
It's my turn to take care of my 92 year old mom. She's doing well considering she was in hospice two years ago!

One problem is that she has trouble chewing and swallowing food, and has a tendency to choke (her doc knows about this).

Anybody have experience with which foods are best in this situation? I can't find any pattern. Cream of Wheat good, rice bad, chicken good, avocado bad, ice cream bad, etc. It may just be a random thing.

Thanks.
If she is experiencing choking regularly... Have her doctor prescribe a Modified Barium Swallowing test. Medicare will pay for the test. If he will not prescribe the test... go to another doctor.

Swallowing problems can be a symptom of neurological problems. This was the case with my mother. Consider taking her to a neurologist if you have not done so already.

If she is choking, she could aspirate food or liquid and that could result in pneumonia. It could kill her. The information from the MBST and knowledge from the therapist will help you to deal with the problem much more effectively.

In the test, they will use a real-time imaging machine to photograph her swallowing action with different thicknesses of food and types of food. They will give you advice on food and how to hold the head, etc when eating. If her condition is progresses, you may need to get her retested every several months to make adjustments.

You can get thickening agents for liquids. One brand is called Thick-It. It is a starch like substance, but it dissolves in cold liquids more readily. It can be used in soups also.

You may need to begin using a blender to puree certain food.

I do not know the details... but if your mother has a progressive condition, she may eventually need a feeding tube. I know this sound a bit extreme. But if she begins choking regularly, she will become fearful of eating and she will begin losing weight and dehydrating.

Barium Swallow
http://www.massgeneral.org/pcs/Heal_...um_Swallow.pdf

Good luck. If you need to discuss it further PM me... I will be glad to share my experience. I have other advice related to the extended care of a parent also... learned some of it by trial and error unfortunately. What you will find is that piecing together the care puzzle is not easy or obvious.
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Old 06-08-2008, 09:10 AM   #8
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Thanks for the advice, guys!
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Old 06-09-2008, 07:54 PM   #9
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just to add a thought not yet mentioned, for nonthickened liquids, alzheimer's patients who have trouble swallowing often find it easier to sip through a straw or a sippy cup.
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Old 06-09-2008, 09:49 PM   #10
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TromboneAl,

Reading your post reminds me how fortunate I have been. My mother is 91 and father is almost 94. Both are doing very well and living in their own house without any outside help.

I wish your mother well.
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Old 06-11-2008, 05:16 PM   #11
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Very thin smoothies.Watch the ice. Not too cold. Everyone loves fruit!
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