ARTICLES / General / Getting A Grip... /
By Roya Sayadi, Ph.D., CCC-SLP and Joel Herskowitz, M.D.
You don’t have to be 65 or older to have
a swallowing problem. Persons with a wide variety of
medical and neurologic disorders are vulnerable. These
disorders include stroke, multiple sclerosis, cancer,
ALS, myasthenia gravis, head injury, congestive heart
failure, and COPD.
A 72-year-old man with Parkinson’s
disease did everything slowly. That included swallowing.
Food often got stuck in his throat and caused him to
cough and gag.
An 82-year-old man with Alzheimer’s was
extremely distractible and could no longer use a fork or
spoon. He had also “forgotten” what to do with food once
it was in his mouth. A single swallow could take three
minutes or longer. Not surprisingly, he frequently
These are some of these things people
complain of when they have a swallowing problem: