As your parent ages, it’s normal for them to develop various health-related issues. Some may be nothing more than a minor inconvenience, whereas other health issues can have a big impact on their life and be very serious.
If your aging parent has been diagnosed with dysphagia, you are bound to have questions and concerns. This swallowing disorder can be quite scary to cope with for your parent and you. Doing your research, understanding what the diagnosis means and the ways of coping with it will help to alleviate stress.
Here are three things to know when your senior parent is diagnosed with dysphagia.
Understand What Dysphagia Is
The first thing is to do your research. Learn everything you can about dysphagia because as the saying goes – knowledge is power. Research doesn’t just answer questions, it can help ease fears and anxiety. You’ll find tons of online resources and speaking to your parent’s doctor/healthcare provider can also be useful. Your parent should be encouraged to ask questions and voice any concerns they may have.
What Does Treatment Look Like?
In terms of treatment, it can be different for each person. It is based on how severe their dysphagia is and whether it is permanent or short-term. For example, dysphagia caused by brain disorders or nervous system disorders won’t likely be temporary. If the dysphagia is caused by infection leading to inflammation and pain, then it’s likely it will be temporary until they recover.
Some of the treatment options that may be used include medications delivered as injections so that you don’t have to swallow anything, language and speech therapy, and lifestyle changes in terms of how and what you eat. Keep in mind that a cure isn’t necessarily going to be on the cards for your parent. Again, it comes down to the root cause.
Using Food Thickeners Can Help Make Drinking Beverages Safer and More Enjoyable
Because fluids are essential to staying healthy and hydrated, your parent needs to keep up with fluid intake. The problem is that some beverages are so thin that they pose a health risk for those with dysphagia. Fluids can get into the lungs and cause choking, pneumonia and more. A great solution is to use food thickeners that will change the consistency of the beverage, allowing you to tweak it until it’s perfect.
You can thicken drinks with Simply Thick gel quickly and easily, adding the right amount of product to reach the desired consistency. Thickening agents aren’t meant to alter the taste of the beverage, rather it just thickens it up so that swallowing takes longer, the fluid won’t end up in the lungs and it is safer overall.
Dysphagia Can Be Stressful but Manageable
The fact is that a dysphagia diagnosis for your parent can be scary. There are a lot of unknowns and it can result in some big lifestyle changes. But with the proper information, tools and tips, dysphagia can be manageable. It doesn’t have to be a dark and gloomy cloud hanging over your parent.