Next Step -problems with eating and drinking


Registered User
Dec 27, 2017
Hi All,
I am hoping for some advice on my next move.
Mom narrowly avoided been hospitalised again yesterday due to dehydration. This would have been the third times this year. The first two times where during the hot summer.
She lives on her own with carers going in three times a day.
Mom will not drink and can be very stubborn resisting efforts to get her to take on fluids. In addition she isn’t eating,partly due to lack of appetite and partly due to gagging or “heaving” when eating.i totally get why she as problems. Her GP is aware of this and we are waiting for a prescription for high calorie shakes to arrive.
I feel this isn’t sustainable on any level, and that her needs full time support. My next plan is to approach social services.
I would be grateful for any wisdom.or experience with this stage.


Registered User
May 27, 2016
Drinking enough is a problem especially when living on ones own.
A new care home manager monitored fluid in take and found that falls decreased by 80%.
I care 24/7 but have to find ingenious ways to encourage drinking.
Perhaps a job for Carers to monitor with a written chart?


Registered User
Jun 20, 2018
Leamington Spa
Even with me being here with my mum 24/7 it's not easy for her to get down as much liquid as I would like her,my mum is having a visit from the SALT(speech and language therapy) team this morning and I have been to the shop to buy bananas,biscuits and cake as they have been requested so they can see how she performs at eating and swallowing


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
Yes, I wondered about the SALT team too. That heaving and gagging is just what mum was like when her swallow went.


New member
Dec 19, 2018
I am very sorry to read about the swallowing issues that your mother is experiencing.

My own mother is 74 years old and has Alzheimer's, and she too recently experienced swallowing issues very similar to these. In addition to choking and coughing severely after eating, she at times would also choke on her own saliva, even if she had not eaten recently. Her doctors had not expected her swallowing problems to get any better. Her swallowing issues continued even after she was placed on a pureed/liquid diet.

One day I decided to floss my mom's teeth, as I remembered her doing this for me as a young child; I thought it would bring back some memories for her. I flossed her teeth thoroughly, and brushed her teeth after I finished flossing. Immediately after doing these, I noticed a very significant change for the better with her swallowing issues. Her coughing and choking were much less severe. She NO LONGER choked on her own saliva. She stated outright that she felt better.

I continued to floss her teeth once a day, and her swallowing issues have gradually diminished; with regards to choking and coughing, she has gotten much better. She has since been able to resume eating solid foods, and drinking all liquids, without coughing and choking. She has not developed any other side complications or other issues. It has since been 3 months, and her coughing and choking have not come back.

Here are some additional notes:

1.) I used Reach brand un-flavored dental floss and regular Crest toothpaste.

2.) The teeth should be brushed immediately after flossing. The flossing can be done at any time of the day (morning, noon, or night), as long as it is done once per day.

3.) I did make sure to wash my hands just before flossing. While flossing, I also wore protective food prep nitrile gloves that were latex free, as I was not sure what kind of germs my sick mother might have in her mouth.

4.) If possible, the tongue should also be brushed.

At first, my mother did state that she felt nauseous if her back teeth were brushed, for some reason. I tried to get her to very lightly brush her back teeth anyway. I felt that it was important that she brush her entire mouth.

If your hands are too large to fit inside of the patient's mouth, you may wish to consider hiring a private caregiver who has small hands. Do not consider using the dental floss picks that you stick inside the patient's mouth; these will not floss the teeth thoroughly at all. The teeth must be flossed along the gum line, in a gentle curving motion. The dental floss must NOT just be stuck straight up and down between the teeth.