The elderly can be susceptible to choking due to a number of factors: eating too fast, trying to swallow large portions of food and having difficulty swallowing due to a number of health conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and strokes.
Reasons for Dysphagia and Choking on Water Poor oral health or poorly fitting dentures. Acid reflux. Side effects from certain medications. Stroke.
Dysphagia, which is a geriatric syndrome affecting 10% to 33% of older adults, is commonly seen in older adults who have experienced a stroke or neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer or Parkinson disease.
Aging. Due to natural aging and normal wear and tear on the esophagus as well as a greater risk of certain conditions, such as stroke or Parkinson’s disease, older adults are at higher risk of swallowing difficulties.
Perform abdominal thrusts up to 5 times, checking each time to see if the obstruction has cleared. Anyone who has received abdominal thrusts must be seen by a doctor. Finally, if the person is still choking, call 999 (or 112) and alternate five back blows and five abdominal thrusts until emergency help arrives.
Other signs of dysphagia include:
Dysphagia is a poor prognostic sign in patients nearing the end of life, and for many patients with a life-limiting illness, the inability to swallow may represent a pivotal symptom that prompts the decision to consider end-of-life or hospice care.
For oropharyngeal dysphagia, doctors will likely recommend a combination of exercises (designed to help re-coordinate muscles used during swallowing) and speech therapy. Esophageal dysphagia may be more involved. If there is a stricture, a doctor may need to dilate the esophagus in order to expand its width.
Dysphagia ( swallowing difficulty ) is a growing health concern in our aging population. Age-related changes in swallowing physiology as well as age-related diseases are predisposing factors for dysphagia in the elderly. In the US, dysphagia affects 300,000–600,000 persons yearly.
Avoid feeding them breads with raisins, nuts or seeds, along with hard, dry crackers or cereals. If they can tolerate thin liquids, first moisten the cereal, bread or crackers with milk or another liquid. Rice or pastas that are well-cooked are also good choices for those with a swallowing impairment.
If it turns out that your loved one does suffer from dysphagia, the following tips can help you to manage their condition effectively:
What is dysphagia?
Learn first aid for someone who is choking
If the choking victim is lying down, position them face up on their back and kneel astride their hips. With one of your hands on top of the other, place the heel of your bottom hand on the abdomen between the navel and the rib cage. Press with a quick upward thrust.
Choking occurs when a piece of food, an object, or a liquid blocks the throat. Children often choke as a result of placing foreign objects into their mouths. Adults can choke from breathing in fumes or eating or drinking too rapidly. Most people choke at some point in their lives.