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My mother is a diabetic on dialysis and was just diagnosed with severe dementia after having a major stroke and now has some trouble swallowing her medications. What kinds of foods/snacks will help her?

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Thanks Reno55. The NYTimes New Old Age columnist Paula Span has just published an article about palliative care, so that's a great way to learn more about this important approach to care.
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Not all pills SHOULD be crushed.
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I think Dr Kernisan is right on target.
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A speech therapist can evaluate her swallowing and make recommendations. A dietician may also be helpful, and pharmacy can advise re medication formulations that are easier to swallow.

But you may also want to get help stepping back and making a big picture plan for your mother. If she is on dialysis, has had a major stroke, and has severe dementia, it may or may not be the time to focus her medical care on maximizing her comfort and quality of life for whatever time she has left.

Generally when I work with families and we've decided to focus mainly on quality of life, we emphasize the older person eating the foods they enjoy the most. Could be milkshakes or ice cream; there are ways to make sure the blood sugar doesn't get out of hand or you can use lower-sugar formulations.

It's also often possible to reduce or eliminate medications at this stage.

This may or may not be right for you, but it's important to consider the overall big picture of her health and your options regarding what her medical care should focus on, before getting too caught up in tactics like how to get her to safely swallow certain medications.

I would recommend you consider a palliative care consultation. It's not the same as asking about hospice and it doesn't mean you are giving up. But palliative care clinicians are good at helping families make sense of a relative's overall prognosis, and they always have suggestions on how to relieve symptoms and maximize quality of life, regardless of whether the medical focus is on longevity or not.
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I put a small amount of applesauce on a spoon and add one pill at a time.
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Ask for a consult with a speach therapist. Paid for my medicare. I had one for my mom and she was extremely helpful and made some great suggestions. I had 3 different consults, depending on what condition mom was in, different suggestions were made each time. It was well worth the effort and I stopped second guessing myself. Good luck.
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Try putting the pills in mashed bananas. They are also an excellent source of potassium.
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I had to get pills that I could crush for my mother and give them twice a day instead of once a day extended release pills. I make prune pudding and give her crushed pills in it 2x a day for her heart and BP and her happy pill.
You can use yogurt but I like my Mom to keep up with her bm's.
You cannot crush or open any capsules without asking the pharmacist because it can be VERY dangerous if they are "extended release" pills or meant to last the entire day.
One that I can open is an amoxicillin 250mg capsule for her, other than that nothing.
I use Thick-it from Walmart pharmacy (Order ahead) or order on amazon for my mom's drinks and I puree her foods. Always ask the pharmacist please.
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Since dementia affects the mechanisms controlling muscles, those muscles are needed to swallow. Try thin liquids, but recognize there is no food or medication that will stop the ravages of dementia. Best wishes!
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I would suggest the same methods given on this site to any one who has swallowing difficulties, if you do a search it has been covered numerous times. But realistically she is a diabetic, on dialysis, recovering from a severe stroke and unable to swallow... have you considered hospice??
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My wife lives with me. I have caregiver help for 35 hours during the week.
I do all the pill set up for her breakfast and her dinner period.
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More information is needed to respond....like is she living with you~is she in an AL place??? More Info. please.....
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My wife takes 4 pills in the AM and 2 in the PM. 2 are in capsules. These I cut open. The other 4 - I use a pill grinder I got at Rite Aid.
I then put the pills in apple sauce (unsweetened). She looks forward to her apple sauce (with the pills mixed in).
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HomeCareNutrition carries a variety of nectar or honey thickness liquids and foods. My dad is a stroke victim and we use the nectar thickened liquids to help him take his pills and when he eats his meals. Hormel provides free shipping. Other people use apple sauce.
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