Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month: Feeding and Swallowing Issues

Speech therapy can improve your loved one's quality of life!November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month! In support of this campaign, Speech Associates of New York has dedicated our blogs for the month of November to raising awareness about this disease, how it can affects the individual and their loved ones, and how a speech-language pathologist can help.

Although Alzheimer’s Disease is most often associated with problems with memory and communication. But in the later disease there are other complications that arise that people don’t often think about. One of these is trouble with eating and swallowing.

Early on, a person with Alzheimer’s may become distracted during mealtime or forget what they are doing while eating. As the disease progresses, mealtime issues may center around forgetting how to use utensils or how to initiate eating. In the later stages, a person may chew for a very long time without swallowing, spit food out, or hold food in the cheeks or mouth.

In addition to being trained in communication issues, a speech-language pathologist is also trained to help with dysphagia or difficulty swallowing. This can range from helping a caregiver develop strategies to get a loved one to focus on a meal, to changing the texture of food and liquid during later stages of dementia so that food is swallowed safely and the person with dementia is getting enough food and liquid to stay healthy.

Check in with us again next week when we’ll discuss some strategies to help a person with dementia-related dysphagia stay safe and make mealtime easier.

Are you a caregiver for someone with dementia? What challenges have you faced and how have you and your family overcome them? Share your story in the comments section below!

For information on our New York based Speech-Language Pathology services, please call Speech Associates of New York today at (212) 308-7725 or visit our website at http://www.speechassociatesofny.com and find out how our team of professionally trained and certified speech-language pathologists can help!

© 2014, Speech Associates of New York – All Rights Reserved

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