My Mom with dementia seems to have food left in her mouth long after she has finished a meal or snack. Any suggestions? - AgingCare.com

My Mom with dementia seems to have food left in her mouth long after she has finished a meal or snack. Any suggestions?

Follow
Share

I first noticed this a few weeks ago when I brought my Mom a pill. She still had yogurt on her tongue and hadn't been eating that for perhaps an hour. I don't think she has chewing problems or tooth pain. She's a lifelong multitasker, stands at the counter to eat while reading the newspaper or mail. Maybe I need to encourage her to sit down and focus on just eating. I sure appreciate any input.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
33

Answers

Show:
My mom would chew her pills - even those that were time-release coated. The doctor finally prescribed liquids that helped.

Swallowing takes some thought, too, so I think that some elderly people, due to lace of feeling in their mouths or lack of awareness, just let food sit. They simply aren't comprehending that they should swallow. Offering a drink of water often can help, but of course swallowing problems can be tricky, so asking a specialist is a good idea. Sometimes liquids may need to be thickened.


Take care,
Carol
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My husband no longer understands the concept of rinsing out your mouth so I got a water pic (water flosser). I use it on low and rinse all around his gum line after he eats a meal. So far it has been helpful.
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

I would be careful with making sure the pills can be crushed and consult with your Dr because there are certain pills that can be deadly if they are crushed and others are fine to be crushed.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

Does she have dementia? How old is she?

I noted my mom (Vascular Dementia/ 91) isn't eating as well. She takes large bites, chokes, then sneezes, then chokes again, and sneezes, and it goes on and on. I leave her alone to let her do her thing as long as she's not 'hurting'.
Brain function is huge in this area. I remember my MIL back in the late 80s/90s (year) couldn't swallow, so the nursing home got an ambulance to take her for a test to see why she couldn't swallow. Well, the test required (you guessed it!) swallowing! They couldn't do the test. I can't tell you how angry my now deceased FIL was). As it happened, she died less than a month later, a natural death which the brain induced by taking away her swallowing abilities.

The only thing I can suggest is you go in there with a clean towel or cloth and swipe out the food particles that may be on the side of her mouth. You have to do it quickly. Or, get her to use just water and if she can swish (which may also be hard for her if her brain has started to go) then that's good. If not, she may just swallow the water.

My mother always has water next to her. Now she can swallow pills if they aren't too big but I usually crush the smaller ones in a baggie with a hammer and throw them into her food. It's not the ideal way to give medication, but it's the only way at this point and at her age, does it really matter? Doctors have suggest as much.

We have to accept the fact that people in this age group with this set of problems are not going to live forever, and with the dementia/Alzheimer's diagnosis, even if the body is willing, do we, as adult caregivers (children mostly) want to see them suffer that way? Perhaps it's just time to give it a rest, do the best we can to keep them comfortable, and allow them to die the way nature intended.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

When taking pills they crush my Dad's and put it in applesauce or pudding makes it easier
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Yes please get her evaluated. When I was a nurse aid we put on gloves and do a finger swipe but it sounds like at this stage just asking your mom to open her mouth may be ok....also finishing a meal with a cup of tea, water any thin liquid will help. I get my mom to use mouth wash after each meal and it seems to work well in removing any leftover particles. Since I have no idea what I'm doing LOL, I got her home health RN to tell her that doing this will improve her health by removing bacteria and it worked.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

AnOnlyChild, try to visit your mother only during meals, and feed her yourself, instead of another time., This way you can keep track of how much shes eating, and keep on top of things.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

My mom was unable to feed herself but ate very well. When feeding her i would put a small piece of the meat on spoon with either applesauce or mashed potatoes. This helped her swallow better. If I just gave the meat alone, she would just keep chewing it. I fed her slowly and would say let me know when you are ready for another bite. I also think she ate much better if I did nothing but feed her. I used a plastic spoon to make sure I was giving her smaller portions. I also noticed that she appeared to swallow a few times before the food actually went down. I always made the offer of a bite or drink each time. We did have a speach therapist come out for some ideas and suggestions.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

You might want to have her evaluated by a speech therapist to rule out a swallowing problem. We were advised to give Mom a Tootsie-Pop after meals to finish up the swallowing process. The therapist said to use only this brand because the others come off the stick. Also, I have to remind Mom to suck on it rather than chew which would be hard on her 90-year-old teeth (the rest of her is 96). Good luck.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I also had the problem with my mom chewing her pills instead of swelling but my mom could not feed herself at this point. We cut the larger pills in half and feed her slowly to make sure she was swallowing. Our doctor set us up with a speech therapist who came and evaluated mom and had some good advice about how we could tell if mom was actually swelling the food that was in her mouth.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions