Swallowing with Alzheimer's

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New Member

Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 4/29/2012 6:15 PM (GMT -6)   
My wife is 79 and was dx with Alz about 5 years ago at University of Cal Hospital in Sacramento. She was on aricept and namenda.  She has been loosing weight, has lots of congestion, not eating well and spitting up a lot.  She has gagged a few times.  She has had a throat swallow and chest xrays which showed nothing abnormal.  Family MD sent her to allergist and the tests did not sho any allergy issues.  However when he was examing her throat the other day he touched the back of the throat with the wooden thing and she did not gag.  We see her MD in the AM.  I suspect she will go to a liquid diet. 
Her memory is very poor but does know the family.  She acts lethargic and  looks off into space for much of the time.  I fear dhr is going into the late stages of this horrible desease.  
What kind of experiences on this have other members of this forum had and any suggetsions.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 4/30/2012 7:02 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm sorry that you are all going thru this. Usually loss of the swallowing reflex does indicate the late stages of AD. I have no advice for you, but hopefully some other members will come along to help you soon.
Moderator-Allergies/Asthma and Alzheimer's, Co-moderator-UC
Diagnosed Left sided UC in '92 - meds: 6mp, Colazal, Remicade and Bentyl*Unable to tolerate ALL mesalamines*, in '11 diagnosed with IBS, Diverticulosis, Fibromylagia..I also have Sacroiilitis, Scoliosis, Raynauds, OA, PA, Rosacea, Psoriasis, Dry Eye and allergies controlled by Zyrtec and Singular

Betsey Ross
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 1056
   Posted 5/2/2012 5:53 AM (GMT -6)   
You might have to purchase a container of powder thickner to mix in to liquids so she would need to chew it. It will go down better. call a pharmacy.

Age to a woman is like krypronite to Superman.

baby dumpling
New Member

Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 5/2/2012 11:18 AM (GMT -6)   
Meal times need to be slow and unhurried. Allow about an hour for each mealtime.

Make sure she remains sitting in an upright position while eating and for about 30 minutes thereafter. (Aspiration pneumonia is a risk at this stage.)

It is recommended to keep bites or spoonfuls small, starting with 1/2 teaspoon and increasing to only 1 teaspoonful at a time.

Thickening is a must, but avoid turning liquids into complete solids.

Eventually she may loose interest in eating, which will be harder on you than it is on her.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 6448
   Posted 5/7/2012 11:23 AM (GMT -6)   
My Mom has a swallowing disorder as well, and she is on mostly a liquid diet. The thickener is a must. Also, the memory care facility she is in now gives her something called a "Magic Cup" and you can freeze it like an ice cream or eat it as a pudding. It's really great stuff and she loves it. She pretty much eats that for every meal.

New Member

Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 5/8/2012 3:38 AM (GMT -6)   
What you are going through is extremely difficult. My father past of this disease less than a year ago. Once my dad stopped eating solids and moved on to soft foods because of the difficulty swallowing my mom did a lot of research online to find ways to make the foods have flavor. He was in at home hospic at that point. It helped. As I am sure you have read, no one knows how long from this point. I remember wanting to know and read online nightly looking for the answer. For my dad, he lived a few more months past this part. Feedings did take a long time and it got to the point where we had to coach my dad to swallow. My dad was very similar to how you described. He always remembered family. He always knew my mom and he would call the the daytime sitter me. He knew me most of the time and always thought my son was me his last months. Cherish your time, think of the feedings as your time. Talk to her. She will have moments of clarity and you will feel like you have her back for a few moments. Take advantage of these times. I wish you and your family the best.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 480
   Posted 8/18/2012 3:39 PM (GMT -6)   
My mom can still eat solid food but does choke on liquids quite often. She has trouble controlling the rhythm of swallowing. She also will not swallow unless she's chewed so this is true with medication too and that's not good with the time released pills.

It really is a waste against time to find a cure for this horrible disease. How many more of our loved ones and us for that matter will have to suffer this before someone finally figures out how to get rid of it once and for all. I keep hoping it will be something that already exists that is being used for something else and someone discovers it by accident so that it will be available that much quicker. Crossing my fingers...

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/20/2012 6:02 AM (GMT -6)   
My Mother has had Alzheimer's for the past seven years and has always had this choking problem with and without eating. Her voice even will get horse sometimes and she will cough up phlem once in awhile and try and clear her throat. She eats very well, but her memory is very poor. Her doctor has tried antibiotics, nasal spray and allergy pills. None have worked and he says her throat
looks fine. He has increased her namenda, aricept, and her anxiety meds. She has lost some weight but she looks good. She had a dizzy spell yesterday in her room and almost fell.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 480
   Posted 8/20/2012 11:01 PM (GMT -6)   
I would think the increase in Namenda and Aricept may have caused the dizzy spell.
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