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My mother's new thing is to chew her food and spit it out on her plate.  She is 98 and deaf, so communication is difficult.  I keep writing notes for her in big letters (macular degeneration, too) saying, "Swallow your food.  Don't spit it out."  It's not about being able to chew the food:  she even does this with very soft foods like potato.  She only swallows a few things:  some of her oatmeal, her ice cream, and graham crackers.

Nothing is sinking in and she is down to 81 lbs.

Any suggestions?  Anybody know how to get someone to swallow?

Thanks.

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skunkdodger

Will she drink things okay?  You might already be doing this, but to get her to take in more calories you might try milkshakes/smoothies or protein/energy drinks like Ensure.  (They even have one for diabetics, if that's an issue.)  For some people using a straw gets them to swallow/drink more, too, I think.   Apparently it's not the consistency of the food since she will swallow oatmeal (soft) --and graham crackers (crunchy!).   Hang in there and let us know how it's going.  --t.   

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Redneck
Phyllis.  Hello and Welcome!!!
 
When my mom's health took a nose-dive a couple of years ago, she had trouble swallowing for a few weeks.  We bought a small, inexpensive food-processor...which worked great for us.  "Small", it's not such a pain to clean ...and we find it's often better than using the blender.  You can get food to the texture you want; so the food still is recognizable...if that's important to your mom.  We even got our mom to eat things like cole-slaw...if it was EASY to swallow.  Yes, smoothies are great...we put in all kinds of high-nutrition/high-calorie things.  [She loves peanut-butter smoothies...   we sometimes add a banana...or chocolate...for variety.]
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Maggie J
Talk to her doctor and ask for a referral to a speech/language pathologist.  No kidding.

When my Dad was very ill he had great difficulty swallowing too, and he was referred to an SLP for help.  My son has autism, and when I told his speech therapist that my dad had been referred to one, she wasn't surprised.  She said that yes, they can help with swallowing issues, it's part of their training.  She also told me that old people often lose the ability to swallow due to age, illness, or dementia, and that sometimes therapy can help them compensate.
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Janie
Hi!

When my Dad was in Rehab they did a cookie test???

They said he "FAILED"  so they gave him liquid foods,  hes home of course now and is eating ,  sometimes he will spit out his food also....

But I am still not sure what a Cookie Test is and why he failed...

I do know someone said the test cost somewhere like 5k,  maybe thats why they did it?  Who Knows..

Janie
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Hi Janie, and everyone,
 
I googled medical cookie test and got this site.

http://www.lmhealth.org/pdf/CareGrams/Radiology/Modified%20Barium%20Swallow%20or%20'Cookie'%20Test%201616-0508.pdf
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billie jo
i googled that link and it says the page is no longer available or has been moved.
i do know that when i workedd in the alz unit there were specialists trained in helping people swallow. call her doctor and ask for suggestions or for her to be checked out. sometimes they just don't like what they used to like anymore but sometimes it is a physical issue and needs to be addressed by someone trained to help with it. start with the doc. i'm sure he/she can refer you if necessary.
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Thank you all for your kind and sincere suggestions.

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Maggie J

Billie jo, instead of clicking on the link in JAH's post, copy and paste the whole thing into your browser box (Starting with http and ending with .pdf).  That should work.

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This is interesting information. My mom has had trouble swallowing her food for the last year. She complains about everything getting stuck in her teeth and spends a lot of time picking bits & pieces of stuff off her teeth and out of her gums. She even spits out oatmeal bits. I've found her picking stuff out of her mouth hours after a meal. I wonder if the problem isn't really her ability to swallow rather than just stuff getting stuck in her teeth.

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Janice W
My father in law with Alzheimer's got to where he seemed to be overly aware of bits of food in his mouth. He would be eating, then he would spit out something like a tiny bit of tomato skin etc. He dearly loved Broccoli Cheese soup and I would make it and take to him. We still laugh about the time I was helping him and and he spit a teeny bit of Broccoli out and it landed on my leg as he declared "You put weed in this stuff"!  I never got a chance to ask, but since with Alzheimer's they regress back to an infant like state, I wonder if their eating abilities might do that also??? Just a thought..

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My 68 year old mom does this too..She has had 2 strokes..diagnosed with dementia now and it's so frustrating. She shoves all the food in her mouth and than spits it out. Shes anemic and has lost a lot of weight ...the dr has become concerned cause her weight declines everytime he sees her . He has her on glucerna shakes for diabetics and she seems to drink those all day long it seems ..they are everywhere when I get up . Prob the only thing keeping her alive. I remove the plastic and leave them in the fridge for her to get whenever she wants . She is prescribed 90 and her insurance does pay since its medically needed. The toilet paper everywhere is also a concern but I have read that dementia patients do this ... she uses a lot of toilet paper in a day. Just rolls it up and puts it every where . All day long I'm picking up toilet paper . Good idea to get those 99 cents little devices that open and close so you dont have to bend . Because it is excessive and my back cant handle bending over all day long to pick a piece up here or there as well as the plastic from the glucerna drink. If I didnt unwrap myself for her it would be in 30 little pieces because she has no strength to take it off all at once . It's a rough job looking after your elderly parents but it wont be forever so enjoy what you can. Their are others who wished they could look after their parents.
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