Monday, 20 May 2019
Monday, 15 April 2019
Monday, 11 March 2019
• Straws can cause problems - Liquid drawn through a straw can often hit a person’s mouth faster than that taken without a straw, making straws potentially dangerous for some people with dysphagia.
• Be especially patient in helping the person to drink - Thickened drinks take many people with dysphagia longer than you might imagine to consume, and most thickeners also make drinks more filling. Therefore little and often is a really important motto for helping to keep a person with dysphagia hydrated.
• Equally, for many people with dysphagia meals are often best provided little and often - The effort required to process food in the mouth and swallow it for a person with dysphagia is immense, far greater than for a person without dysphagia. So the idea of three set meals a day and those meals filling the person up isn’t a sensible approach. Try smaller portions, that the person can eat at their own pace in shorter periods of time, and follow up with further small portions throughout the day at times when the person is alert and correctly positioned upright to eat and drink.
• Try using teaspoons to support a person to eat - This will naturally make each mouthful a smaller amount than larger cutlery will provide.
• If the person you are supporting doesn’t like the taste of thickeners (and despite what the manufacturers say, thickeners do change the taste of foods and drinks), natural alternatives I’ve seen that are popular (though never tried with my dad) include smooth-mashed avocado, smooth peanut butter (providing the person isn’t allergic to nuts), thick Greek yogurt or kefir (if the person can tolerate dairy products), smooth-mashed banana and smooth-mashed or pulverised cannellini beans. Obviously the choice you make depends on whether you are trying to thicken a savoury or sweet food or beverage, and if that food or drink is being served hot or cold.
• Some people have said to me that making foods or drinks sour, for example by adding lemon juice, helps to trigger the swallowing reflex.
• Don’t eat too close to bedtime - Ideally allow 2+ hours after eating before going to bed.
Monday, 11 February 2019
“Dementia taught me to tell my dad I loved him every time I saw him. I say dementia taught me because a diagnosis of a terminal disease makes it imperative that you make the most of every moment. There isn't time to be bashful - you will have a long time to regret what you didn't have the courage to say or do.”
“Wandering suggests aimless moving from place to place without any clear objective, but that is not the case in people with dementia. . It may be a world from their childhood or their years as a youthful adult, it may be a happy place or a sad and worrying place. Wherever it is and whatever the circumstances, the person with dementia may well feel compelled to do certain things, and have great purpose and direction in doing them, however fleeting that may be.”