If you suffer from dysphagia, you may have difficulty swallowing all foods and liquids or only certain types and textures. Dysphagia can be caused by strokes, Parkinson's disease, brain injuries, and Alzheimer's disease. If you have problems with dysphagia and need in-home care, consider the following services that a senior home care provider can offer you to help you live safer and healthier.
If you are unable to swallow your prescribed medications, the senior home care provider can crush them with a pill crusher and mix them with pudding, applesauce, honey, or other food so that they do not get stuck in your throat. Before the caregiver crushes your pills, they will make sure that the pills can be safely crushed, as certain types of medications work better when taken whole. Not only can crushing the pills and mixing them with the aforementioned foods help make swallowing them easier, but it can also mask the bitter or otherwise unpleasant taste of the medications. If you have diabetes or are otherwise unable to eat foods with added sugar, the caregiver can administer your crushed medication with sugar-free foods.
Monitoring for Aspiration Pneumonia
Dysphagia can increase your risk for aspiration pneumonia. If you accidentally choke and start coughing after eating or drinking, the food or liquid may get aspirated into your lungs instead of going down your esophagus. When food and liquids get inside your lungs, bacteria can quickly multiply, causing bacterial pneumonia or other serious respiratory infections. The senior home care provider can monitor you for signs and symptoms of aspiration pneumonia such as fever, coughing, wheezing, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
If symptoms are noticed, the elderly home care provider can call your physician, who may recommend an office visit or a trip to the hospital, or they may simply prescribe a course of antibiotics for you to take at home. After a choking episode, you may be afraid of eating alone. If you are hesitant to eat or drink because of choking fears, the caregiver can sit with you during mealtimes.
If you have dysphagia or other health condition requiring in-home senior care, contact a senior home care agency to discuss their services. They will answer your questions about costs and staff scheduling, as well as provide you with information pertaining to other available services. These services may include errands, light housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, and assisting you with bathing and dressing if needed.