Choking becomes a big concern for many older adults. Difficulty swallowing, trouble chewing, and other health issues can all be contributing factors. But what can clue you in that your senior needs to be more careful?
She’s Taking Big Bites of Food
Big bites or big handfuls of food are a problem. When your aging family member is eating foods by the handful or in big bites, it’s harder to chew that before she swallows. She may even be avoiding chewing as much as she normally would. Snack foods may be amongst the biggest culprits for this problem. One way around it is to encourage your elderly family member to take her time with foods she might eat by the handful. Cutting food yourself into smaller bites may also be a solution.
She Needs a Different Texture
Texture matters a lot more than most people realize until it becomes an issue. Some food that’s too dry or chewy can create a choking hazard very easily for your elderly family member. But there are other potential texture issues, too. Foods like honey or peanut butter are high in nutritional value, but in their typical format they may be more difficult for your senior to eat. You may need to modify the food a bit to make it easier for your senior to eat.
She’s Talking While She’s Eating
Talking while eating is something your senior has likely done for her entire life, but now it could be dangerous. The problem is that your senior also brings in air while she talks and eats, and this can move food down the wrong tube in her throat, leading to choking. This is especially a problem if your elderly family member also takes bites of food that are too big for her to eat safely.
She’s Eating Foods that Are Choking Hazards Themselves
There may be foods your senior prefers eating that wind up being potential choking hazards. Some of these are typically universally a concern, like hot dogs that are cut slightly too large. Round foods, like grapes or chocolate-covered peanuts can sometimes cause similar issues. These foods are still ones she can eat, but you may want to pay special attention when your elderly family member chooses them. She may need to just take extra time when eating these foods.
One of the best ways to make sure your senior is okay while she eats is to ensure she doesn’t eat alone. If you can’t be there, elder care providers are the next best choice. They can help with meal preparation, offer companionship, and watch for signs of potential problems.
If you or someone you know needs help with Elder Care Cascade MI, contact Gauthier Family Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services in our community. Call us at (616) 258-2300 for more information.