Q: What can I do to prevent my wife with Alzheimer’s from choking on her liquids and food?
A: I'm so sorry for you. I know it is so hard to watch a loved one choke. It happened with my father too and scared the daylights out of me. Unfortunately, when swallowing becomes impaired and choking begins it is usually a sign that the dementia is progressing further. Be sure to report this symptom to her doctor ASAP and ask about using a thickening agent in her liquids, which helps some patients quite a bit. She will probably start to lose weight now too, so discuss with the doctor about adding a product like Ensure Plus (365 calories a can) with the thickening agent.
Whenever my father ate, I had to sit with him and remind him to slow down or otherwise he would shovel food in so fast anyone would choke, with or without dementia. A couple times when I wasn't there, a caregiver I hired even had to give my father the Heimlich Maneuver—so be sure you know how to perform that in case of an emergency. I suggest that you always cut up your wife's food into very small portions before giving it to her. Also, make sure she is sitting up straight before she begins eating. And with each bite, calmly and lovingly remind her to slow down and chew thoroughly, and hopefully that will help keep her from choking.