My mother puts food in her mouth and chews, but doesn't swallow. Is this a symptom of Alzheimer's or might it be a physical ailment?

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It could be either. She needs a checkup very badly. She may have something that is making swallowing painful, and this could possibly be corrected. If it's dementia, there are medications that can help.

Carol
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My mom had a stroke in May and she was doing the same thing your mom seems to be doing. They called it "squirrelling (sp?). She went to therapy, which helped, but she still does it occasionally (she has also developed some dementia from her stroke which, we have been told, is partially responsible for her doing this). The problem that can come from this is that the food might "go down the wrong pipe" -- if that happens to you or me we can cough it up, but sometimes with people like our moms it just stays there and can ultimately cause aspiration pneumonia. I would definitely take her to her doctor so that she can be evaluated. Good luck!
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Hi--Yes I agree with Carol...My Mom had a similar situation, and she went from having whole food-to ground food-to puree. This is something that has to be checked out, as she just may have difficulty with swallowing.
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Make sure she is not having problems with pain when chewing. My mom has trigeminal neuralgia and she will put food in her mouth, then not want to chew it because of the pain. Might also check with dentist to be sure teeth are okay and nothing wrong with her teeth that could be causing her pain. Now we have mom so she can chew and eat, but the pain meds are making her sleep a lot of the time and unsteady on her feet. We have tried pain shots but seems to make it worse. Next step is treatment with radio frequency waves or gamma knife (gamma rays).
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