‘Young at heart, slightly older in other places’
– Eating and drinking problems and ageing.
Swallowing difficulties (Dysphagia) are a common consequence of many health conditions, and head and neck surgeries, however swallowing difficulties can also be associated with ageing. Estimates suggest up to 20% of all adults over 50 may be affected.
Changes might include such things as reduction in muscle strength for chewing, taste and smell, dental issues, dry mouth or throat, or recurrent illness such as pneumonia.
These changes may result in poor nutrition and hydration, unintended weight loss, avoidance of eating in public, loss of enjoyment in previously enjoyed food, and/or a risk of food/fluid entering the lungs (aspiration) leading to pneumonia and chronic lung disease.
What might you notice?
Suggestions to help:
Who can you talk to?