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Understanding Dysphagia
By: Jeri Logemann, Ph.D., Charles A. Stewart, M.D., Jane Hurd, MPA,
Diane J. Aschman, MS, Nancy L. Matthews, MA

At the age of 78, Maxine was a poster girl for an active senior lifestyle. She loved being the unofficial social director of her assisted living community in the Texas Hill Country, organizing shopping trips to San Antonio and calling the numbers at the daily bingo game. Physically, Maxine was in great shape. She took a brisk walk every morning and had a regular annual physical exam. Her only chronic health problem was mild Parkinson’s, which she controls with daily medication.

Since Maxine especially enjoyed sitting with her special friends at dinner, she was very concerned when she began to experience prolonged coughing fits at the table. At first she thought the problem might be simply trying to talk, eat, and breathe at the same time – so she decided to listen more and speak less. Things got better for a while, though her friends did notice how quiet and subdued she seemed.

Eventually, Maxine began to skip going to dinner and ate in her room instead. She also began to have difficulty swallowing her medication and vitamins. Sometimes she needed a whole glass of water to get them down. Worried, she began to have trouble going to sleep, which made her look tired. This change was very apparent to Maxine’s daughter when she came to visit from out-of-state. Maxine had always been so upbeat and positive. Now, for the first time, she seemed confused and depressed...Read more

Eating Difficulties

Suppose the person you are caring for has not been eating well for some time now. This is a great concern, as adequate nutrition is essential for maintaining optimal health and well-being...Read more


New Dysphagia Nutrition Solutions

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Hard to Swallow

There are so many life altering firsts when it comes to caring for our loved ones:  the first recognition that something is wrong, the first medical diagnosis, and the first time that roles change in your relationships. One of the most dramatic firsts when my mom was caring for my grandfather was the first time we heard the word dysphagia (simply put, the difficulty or inability to swallow)...Read more


Social Aspects of Dysphagia
By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer

On average, a person swallows 600 times a day. Every swallow requires four stages, 25 different muscles and five nerves. Drinking water or eating is something most people take for granted, while others struggle with these basic...Read more


The Nature of a Beast: Understanding ALS

There are so many different situations which can make someone a caregiver, like a loved one getting into a horrible accident and being rendered immobilized. The years can begin to take a toll on the mind and body, and help is needed with the simplest of things. Then there are the ravages of a horrific disease, ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” in the United States (after the baseball great), MND (Motor Neurone Disease) in England, and Maladie de Charcot in France, which robs mobility and is eventually fatal for those who are in the prime of their lives. ALS is a neuromuscular disease which begins as muscle weakness, and then slowly progresses into total and complete paralysis throughout the entire body...Read more

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