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Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by SerenaS, Sep 30, 2015.
Thanks for that
My OH has had swallowing problems for over a year now. He stared by spitting out food quite often, and then eating it again which was horrid - at the time I didn't understand that he was basically pureeing it! I wish I had known earlier. He also ate very slowly and kept food in his cheeks. A SALT assessment then showed he had some delay to swallowing and advised making sure he was wide awake and upright for meals and drinks, and to avoid very crumbly things.
In June had was in hospital with aspiration pneumonia, and we had very helpful assessments and advice before he came home. He does very little chewing, has problems with managing the food into the shape to swallow, and a quite delayed swallow now. He is on a puréed diet Category C, which I do myself, although there are 2 companies that do lovely looking frozen meals that are also Category C. I have thought of getting a few into the freezer for any times when I am poorly. He only eats alimited range of food anyway and so it all seems a bit repetitive, but he eats it with relish. He can only eat with a teaspoon or small dessert spoon, or else he puts too much in and pouches it. He has to be supervised at every meal to make sure he eats slowly, and for weeks we had to sit near enough to physically gently touch his wrist to remind him not to put the next spoonful in. The speech therapist had suggested he poked his tongue out between mouthfuls to show his empty mouth, and we developed that into a game that pleases his roguish sense of humour. Gradually he developed a safer speed of eating, but still needs to be watched, though meals take less than the hour they did.
We have to very carefully monitor his fluid intake as he does not like the texture of thickened drinks. I make sure he had lots of soups and other foods with high fluid content.
He loves sweet things and on days when he is very sleepy he is best fed with semolina for breakfast, yoghurt or petit filo up for snacks, home made vegetable soup and things like homous followed by mashed banana for lunch, or puréed baked beans and sweetened stewed Apple. Then versions of puréed fish or chicken and sweet potatoe mash or savoury ground rice with another milk pudding and fruit in the evening. He is much less keen on puréed veg. He has maintained his weight and his blood tests so that seems enough. Of course just to prove everyone wrong he can still manage his favourite rather sticky chocolate biscuit, and sponge cake - we do watch like a hawk while he is enjoying those.
One last point that I have not had the chance to check out with a professional, he had to give up the sweets he love and I have given him chewing gum on occasions as an alternative, it did seem to me that this might help strengthen his muscles, I am very careful to make sure I get it back!
Thanks for sharing your suggestions, some of which will be published in Living with dementia magazine.
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