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    Difficulty with swallowing
    avatar
    mgoblue1 posted:
    My Mother is almost 92 years old and recently had a stroke. She has had difficulty swallowing and has been placed on a nectar-thickening liquid and pureed-food diet as a result.


    Will her swallowing difficulties continue and, if so, what should I expect, long-term?
    Reply
     
    avatar
    Richard C Senelick, MD responded:
    Most swallowing problems ( dysphagia) do improve over time. Many older people who have not had a stroke will also have problems swallowing and the danger is that they will aspirate their saliva or food and get pneumonia. Younger people tend to do better than older people, but your mother can still improve. A speech pathologist can monitor her swallowing with a bedside swallowing evaluation or a modified barium swallow test where she is asked to swallow different consistencies of barium and food while they watch on an x-ray machine. This process can take months and the therapist can guide when it is OK to advance the type of food she eats. If your mother is no longer seeing a speech pathologist on a regular basis, ask if she can be re-evaluated on a monthly basis.
    Good Luck
    After your stroke you may be experiencing a new normal, but remember what George Eliot said- It is never too late to be what you might have been. You still can achieve new goals.


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