My Father has advanced Parkinson's and chokes more when eating certain foods. Any list of foods to avoid? - AgingCare.com

My Father has advanced Parkinson's and chokes more when eating certain foods. Any list of foods to avoid?

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My father has stage 4/5 Parkinson's and is regressing quickly. He was diagnosed just 2 years ago and is nearing stage 5. The swallowing issue is now a problem and he forgets and needs to be reminded of the techniques the therapist suggested. I purchase all of his food so a list would really help me. I know that salad is a definite no no.

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Oh, one more tip. Our speech and swallow therapist told us not to use straws in his drinking glass. Who knew? Dad is doing better with the feeding tube now, but I remember what led up to it and I feel for all of my friends on this site.
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Oh dear, I guess it's good to know what's ahead since Mom has begun to have problems but it's scary, too.

She has a large glass of water with all food, and I cut up her foods, especially meat. I also microwave bread for a few seconds so it will be softer to eat, and try not to serve tough or dry foods. She has changed what she will eat a lot in the past few years and now I realize that some of it must be swallowing- related. Thanks for the information, everyone. Hugs to everyone who has gone through this.
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Lilykat 3, I took dad for a fluoroscopic swallow study to determine exactly what foods were being aspirated. Water and liquid were the worst. We tried the thickeners, and spoon feeding slowly. That lasted about a week. Dad's been on a feeding tube for several years now. Nothing by mouth whatsoever. He has late onset Parkinsons. Even swallowing his own saliva has caused aspiration pneumonia.
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As a dyphasia sufferer all the above answers are good. when your loved one is having difficulty have him/her drop the chin onto the chest and really push to get a difficult mouthful down.
At times things just sit in the throat and that is where the liquid comes in handy. Personally I use room temperature Ginger ale. Whatever one likes works but keep away from very cold beverages and of course alcohol although a small glass does not hurt ocassionally.
Follow the advice of the speech therapist with very soft foods like mashed potato and fish or very well cooked moist meats. soups are good too. As far as fruits are concerned I always peel things like apples and even grapes at times. It is a chore but well worth it. Again as suggested frequent small meals and snacks. i too would resist a nasogastric tube but if my condition was really advanced and I still needed nutrition I would agree to a stomach tube being placed. By advanced I mean not close to death just the one condition and still having some quality of life. My dysphagia likely comes from the osteoarthritis in my spine that is causing muscle weakness. So maintaining my weight is the goal.
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A speech pathologist told us to be sure that all food is swallowed before putting any more into the mouth. Sounds obvious, but it's surprising how many people don't do this. She also advised to drink water freely while eating. Some folks don't drink as much water as needed, and it doesn't help lubricate the food and make it easier to swallow.

Crackers, toast, sometimes bread and foods which produce little crumbs can cause choking, as can chocolate and sometimes other sugary foods. Although I haven't read that popcorn should be avoided, I think it makes sense that the kernels could cause friction in the throat. JMHO.

Gigi, I hadn't heard of the Tootsie Pop remedy. That's quite interesting.

When we were dealing with dysphagia, lemon swabs were used to stimulate the swallowing response, but they were used by speech therapists who knew exactly where to place the swabs. This isn't a technique I would ever try though as I don't have the training.

Detuchka, I too am very sorry for your loss and hope that memories of your father will help you through this difficult time.
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Mom has a swallowing problem and I've learned to prevent mishaps thanks to the advice of speech therapists.

One helpful suggestion is to give a Tootsie Pop after a meal. Sucking on this triggers the swallow response without any solid food going down. This helps the esophagus to empty into the stomach. The therapist cautioned not to substitute any other brand because other lollipop candies could detach from the stick and cause chocking. Usually, Mom will agree to give up the candy when she gets to the chewy part inside.

Another therapist advised that we take Mom off peanut butter and substitute a nut butter with thinner consistency such as cashew butter. And, of course, no chunky varieties.

Blessings to you both in dealing with this challenge.
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Detuchka, I'm so sorry for your loss.
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Think dysphasia diet, the patient has difficulty swallowing. http://www.mda.org/sites/default/files/publications/Meals_Easy_Swallowing_P-508.pdf
I made every meal in the crock pot as its soft for the meal and creates variety; still do since my dad died 2 months ago. Make eggs In heavy mug...one egg and 1 T of milk. Microwave at 1.5 min. This really makes a Good scrambled egg. Puddings and jellos are easy too. No crackers, toast, or biscuit which permanently got the swallow process not to work and my dad died that evening.
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In the nursing home my father was put on the minced food diet until he started having problems swallowing. They tried to put a feeding tube in twice when my father was in the hospital with the flu but I did not allow it a refused to sign the consent forms.Once the disease progressed to the point that my father aspirated his food a feeding tube became necessary. Sorry to so blunt but Parkinson's is a terribly slow death in its advanced stages.
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ANY meat, even hamburger, can cause a problem because it can be difficult to chew and unless smothered in sauce/gravy is rather difficult to swallow. Dry breads, muffins etc can also be trouble because they can form a big solid wad if he can't chew and takes large bites.
It sounds like you are still trying to get by with a normal diet, it might be time to explore moist minced diets that don't require a lot of chewing. I know people balk at this, but it's not the same as pureed food, just making sure everything is well cooked and finely chopped.
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