May 27, 2014

Dementia sufferer forgotten how to swallow

You really need to be thinking about and deciding now if you would allow a feeding tube to be inserted into your loved one living with dementia in order to prolong their life.

Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

A reader searching Google using these keywords

Dementia sufferer forgotten how to swallow

was directed to the following article on the Alzheimer's Reading Room


Dementia sufferer forgotten how to swallow | Alzheimer's Reading Room

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After looking at the search term, I was really surprised to learn how little direct information there is on dementia and swallowing.

Within the article, The 7 Stages of Alzheimer's, I found this at the very bottom of the section labeled - Very severe cognitive decline (Severe or late-stage Alzheimer's disease).
Individuals lose the ability to walk without assistance, then the ability to sit without support, the ability to smile, and the ability to hold their head up. Reflexes become abnormal and muscles grow rigid. Swallowing is impaired.
That is it.

I remember I was giving a lot of thought to what would I would do if Dotty could no longer swallow.

What would I do? 

You really need to be thinking about and deciding now if you would allow a feeding tube to be inserted into your loved one living with dementia in order to prolong their life. This is a very difficult issue.

You might want to take a look at this article


Our decision? No.

Another issue related to late stage Alzheimer's disease and swallowing is what happens when a dementia patient starts to choke on their food. This can indicate that the food is going down the wrong pipe, or getting caught in the air way.

This can lead to pulmonary aspiration. Medically speaking, aspiration is the entry of secretions or foreign material into the trachea and lungs.

If you haven't given this a lot of thought, I suggest you ask a geriatric specialist, or neurologist about this now. You might also start thinking about what you are going to do if your loved one starts choking.

What I am describing here can lead to infection and pneumonia.

Pneumonia is a major cause of death in Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

You should know now that difficulty swallowing and sometimes eating is a common in late stage Alzheimer's.

You might want to learn more about these issues now, and start preparing yourself for the days when you could be confronted with these problems.

Can anyone suggest a really good, focused, article on Alzheimer's, dementia and swallowing?

Have you ever discussed this issue in a support group?

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Bob DeMarco
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized expert, writer, speaker, and influencer in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community worldwide. The ARR Knowledge Base contains more than 4,700 articles. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.
Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room