There are a lot of different factors that can contribute to a choking situation for your senior. These are just a few of the culprits to be on the lookout for during meals and snacks.
Eating Too Much at a Time
One of the biggest risk factors for choking can be eating way too much at a time. If your senior likes foods that she can eat a handful at a time, like sunflower seeds, she might try too much in one go. This can create a big choking hazard that is complicated by the size of the food. It’s also possible that your senior is taking too many bites at once or the bites themselves are too large. Both of those situations can lead to big problems. Eating “handful foods” in smaller groupings and using smaller bites can help a great deal.
The Food’s Texture or Other Aspects
Sometimes it isn’t the size of the bites, but the texture of the food itself. Sticky foods can create a problem, but so can foods that are too dry or chewy. These types of foods might be fine when they’re in your senior’s mouth, but then seem to get stuck as they start to move down her throat. Using gravies or softening these foods can help, as can a sip of water with each bite.
Not Chewing Well Enough
If your senior is not chewing her foods as well as she could be, that also creates a choking hazard. This can often be a problem if your elderly family member has difficulty chewing or uses dentures. This can also mean that the food is in small enough pieces, but because they’re not being chewed properly or sometimes at all, they become more dangerous. You might need to remind your senior to chew, but another solution is to cut food into smaller pieces.
She’s Talking and Eating at the Same Time
Talking and eating can be a really big problem. As your senior talks, she needs to draw in air. Sometimes the force of that air intake combined with a mouthful of food can create a choking situation. This is especially dangerous with foods that are lighter in weight, like cereals. Try to avoid talking while eating or at least remind your senior to talk only in between bites of food.
Alcohol and Medications that Cause Too Much Relaxation
Anything that can cause your senior to forget what she’s doing or that can cause her to be too relaxed can be a little dangerous while she’s eating. Too much alcohol can create this situation, but so can medications that make your senior drowsy or sleepy. It’s a good idea to check timing on those sorts of medications so that your senior isn’t too relaxed to eat safely.
Choking on food can be avoided, but it’s easier when there’s someone there with your senior who can help her. If you can’t be that person, elderly care providers can. They can offer companionship and help to ensure that your senior is eating safely and avoiding big choking risks.
If you or an aging loved one is considering elder care in Aurora, CO, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare Denver. Call today: (303) 756-9322.