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Even I tried the powder and it's not something I'd drink. He needs nectar consistency. Naked juice works but way too sugary for his diabetes. Is there any other tips you guys have?

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Simplythick is a good thickener. It's not a powder.
My husband uses it. It's a little pricey, but worth it. Because it lasts quite a while. My husband doesn't like the powders either.
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Reply to SylviaT
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Imho, try drinkable yogurt.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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My Mom cannot stand the powder but she handles the gel type just fine.
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Reply to Cashew
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My Patient was also diagnosed with dysphagia. I was told by the dietary nurse that he needed thicken drinks, however, if he could be “managed” to drink very slowly he could drink regular drinks. It also did not matter if he drank with a straw or by an open glass/cup. Sometimes medical conditions situations are diagnosed as black or white when they are actually grey.
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Countrymouse Apr 4, 2021
I'm just curious - how did you know he wasn't aspirating?

The point that might dangerously be overlooked is that a patient with an impaired swallowing reflex may not cough if liquid enters the trachea instead of the oesophagus. You can't assume (and I'm sure you personally didn't assume) that because a person doesn't cough or splutter as long as he goes slowly then all is well.
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My husband had the same problem...but they make it in liquid form (Amazon gallons-also at some drug stores), and then I put some (no sugar-Wiler's Iced tea or berry flavor packets into it), with straw. My husband only liked the flavored water. Also I had Boost or Ensure Plus (many flavors), which are somewhat nectar-thickened by shaking, and gives vitamins at same time. Wishing you patience and health...it's good you care for your Grandpa.
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TaylorUK queried:  "I have no idea why anyone would want to thicken liquids up."   Perhaps you're not familiar with dysphagia and the different levels, which require specific diets as well as thickening for specific liquids.  

It's been some years since we had to thicken liquids for my father's diet (he's now deceased), but I still have the guidelines, which might help in understanding as well as provide inspiration to others dealing with dysphagia accommodations.

Speech therapists gave us guidelines from the American Dietetic Assn., Residential Home Health, and  one of the hospital chain Rehab Institutes.  They address the then 4 levels of liquid consistency:   thin, nectar-like, honey-like, and spoon-thick, and provide examples of each.  

These combined guidelines are the best I've seen for addressing dysphagia.


Doreooo, I found the same problem with the Thik-it powders.    I don't know if I could force myself to drink some of the concoctions, but others have raised good alternatives, including nonsugary applesauce. 

In fact, one of the therapists recommended it to soften treats which would otherwise be unacceptable.   Applesauce softened ginger cookies enough that Dad could literally slurp them, and it was a nice change from the bland food.

You might want to contact the speech pathologist who diagnosed your father and ask for additional suggestions, or at least the charts listing the various levels and acceptable foods and drinks.  

I checked those guidelines, but they're for Levels 1 and 2, and given the time and the fact that I believe some guidelines have changed, I'm not sure if either of these are equivalent to nectar-thick.
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You might find this helpful

https://www.dysphagia-diet.com/Images/ThickenerComparison_2013.pdf
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GardenArtist Apr 4, 2021
CWillie, that's the best guide for thickening agents that I've ever seen!   I saved it, in the event that I (hopefully will not) one day reach that stage.
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The thickener gels work better than the powder ones in my experience. Resource has thicken-up clear, it is more expensive but dissolves much easier in all thin liquids including ice cream and soda which usually is impossible to thicken with the powder.
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cwillie Apr 4, 2021
In my experience the cost seems higher than it is in reality because you use much less of it than the starch based ones.
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I don’t know about USA but in the UK we have a setting gel that can go on sweet flans that’s sugar free.
gelatine. Non flavoured . Can mix to your choice of thickness and quick gel sugar free for sweet items again would need to put more water to it as it can set like jelly. I think you may need to add hot water and make in advance. Trial and error!
For savoury cornflour. Mix to a paste and add water to required thickness, but think you need to bring that to the heat and then let cool.
all ok I think for diabetes.
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Countrymouse Apr 4, 2021
Trial and error is not really what you want when you're working with or caring for a stroke patient.
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My mom (who is very picky) still did okay with Thick It. She also did okay with the Thick It brand of bottled juices/water. But she does even better with Simply Thick, a gel-like liquid that we add to all of her liquids. A speech therapy specializing in swallow disorders recommended it. It is not inexpensive, but it's worth it for us. I order it regularly from Amazon. I highly recommend it.
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Reply to Teri4077
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I suggest you use apple sauce. ( no sugar of course)
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Reply to 7StarsHomeCare
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Here in Britain I find the best thickener is Nutilis. Agreed, any thickened doesn't taste the greatest. However, I follow it immediately with 150 ml of coconut water (not coconut milk) and 50 ml of Kefir--which tastes good and is quite nutritious, with no sugar. A useful trick is to give a quick taste of this BEFORE the thickener and then follow immediately with the thickener. This works well with my wife who is 12 years into Alzheimer's.

The value of the thickener is that it coats the stomach lining and prevents throwing up--quite important.

Life as a caregiver has its challenges, but is worthwhile.

All the best
Love and Prayer
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cwillie Apr 4, 2021
I'm confused by your post - while kefir may be thick enough isn't the coconut water much too thin? And what do you mean about having a taste of something before the thickener, it isn't given like a dose of medicine. The point of thickeners is to prevent thin fluids from going the wrong way into the lung, they haven't anything to do with coating the stomach 🤔
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Water flavorings? Like MIO? Smoothies?
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There are sponges on a stick that hospitals use to give patients water who might aspirate. I think they would work for other liquids things-melted ice cream, juice, broth.
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Reply to Moxies
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Bone broth and meat stock might be good options, to increase his protein intake.
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Reply to Lilacalani
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Somewhere I've got a lovely brightly-coloured chart about "what contributes to my fluid intake" - can't lay my hands on it, but don't forget that as well as drinks, as in drinks as such, lots of other things count. E.g.

Ice cream
Jello
Soup
Fruit such as watermelon
Milk puddings like rice pudding, semolina etc.

If he likes the taste of yoghurt, you could try offering lassi, a yoghurt drink that doesn't have to be sweetened.

Is the swallowing impairment the result of a recent stroke?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Nestle makes a thickner that is more expensive but seems a LITTLE better. My poor father had to have thickner, I always felt so badly. The Nestle is more expensive, but it also holds its consistency and does not keep getting thicker the longer it sits. I used to get it at walgreens, but I am sure it is available on line. Best of luck to you. Just an FYI, V8 is probably fine on its own as far as thickness!
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Reply to mperry29
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Perhaps - and I have no idea why anyone would want to thicken liquids up - you could try something like a collagen powder, it has no taste but may supply some protein as well. Or maybe better than that would be a protein powder from a sports store? or Health food store? Something that actually has some benefit as well as making whatever thicker.

Regarding the diabetes - you say your Grandfather cannot have fruit juice due to his diabetes, and he cannot hold things anymore, I don't know what his life expectancy is but he is obviously not a well man. Talk to his doctor about adjusting his diabetes treatment to account for the sugar in fruit juice if this is what he would like to have, there is a huge range of options for treating the diabetes and changing that may make life easier and more pleasant for him rather than stopping him having what he would like.
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Frances73 Apr 4, 2021
A lot of elderly have swallowing problems, there is a danger of aspiration thin liquids into the lungs and causing pneumonia. Thickened liquids are less likely to cause this.
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I used Thick It and never had a problem with my Husband refusing to eat or drink anything.
How about pureeing fruits for him to drink. Some are more dense so they would not need to be thickened. If you process a blend you might get the right consistency. It would be like a smoothie. You can thin it down with a fruit juice if it becomes thicker than he needs.
Avoid giving things that will melt to a watery consistency though. Ice cream, popsicles, even yogurt gets thin in your mouth all of these can be easily aspirated.
Because you are concerned about the sugar and his diabetes I would try different brands of thickeners. (contact his doctors office and ask if they have samples of different ones, or ask at the pharmacy)
Also do not think only of fluids to help hydrate. There are lots of foods that can be given that will help. meals can be soups, stews, hot breakfast cereals like oatmeal, cream of wheat, even polenta, rice pudding can help.
There are also protein drinks that are formulated for diabetics that are a bit thicker than drinking water, juice or milk.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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A lot of patients go on a "hunger strike" because they think they are right. It's battle of wits with you and he will make you the guilty one. It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. Your other alternative is to start hospice, give him all the comfort that he wants but do not escalate care if he gets pneumonia.
Stick to your guns. It is his choice to take thickened product or nothing at all. Which he may become dehydrated and back to the hospital of revolving doors. You might want to try glucerna products because of low sugar, but you might have to thicken that.
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doreooo22 Apr 2, 2021
I think he wants to, its just weird tasting a bit. Maybe its the brand or just the texture.
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Just an FYI - If he is in danger of aspirating thin fluids I'd be very cautious trying anything like popsicles, they will melt into a thin liquid in his mouth and cause a choking hazard.
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doreooo22 Apr 2, 2021
Yeah, wasnt sure about that one :(
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Was it the product Thick It that your grandpa didn't like? I used that for my husband for the last 22 months of his life, and he never complained that it made his drinks taste different. Are you sure it's just not the consistency that he's not liking, instead of the taste, as Thick It is tasteless?
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Reply to funkygrandma59
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doreooo22 Apr 2, 2021
Not thick it, it was a generic one from Walgreens. It just sats Thickening Powder. Maybe I should switch brands. It makes the drink taste watered down if that makes sense?
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Daddy lived on popsicles the last month of his life. No problem with sugar, he was not diabetic, but he did get hydrated (to a degree) with 4-6 popsicles a day. He knew he wouldn't choke on them, that's why he liked them.
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doreooo22 Apr 1, 2021
Did he hold the popsicle or you did? And was it difficult? He cant hold anything anymore. Also, what did you use, fruit juice or normal popsicles?
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What kind are you using, I thought it was pretty much tasteless although the thickened texture can take getting used to. My go to was ThickenUp clear (made with xanthan gum) - that's what they used at mom's nursing home too.
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doreooo22 Apr 1, 2021
I used a generic one from Walgreens. Do you recommend the thickenup clear? I'll try that one.
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