How to Help a Loved One with Parkinson’s Who Has Swallowing Difficulty

A Parkinson’s diagnosis begins a long and emotional journey for seniors and their families. While loving and devoted family members often step into the role of caregiving for an aging loved one, it can be difficult to anticipate all the needs the senior will encounter as the degenerative disease progresses. One of the most common yet overlooked problems that affect elderly people with Parkinson’s is difficulty swallowing. Swallowing difficulties, also known as dysphagia, occur because the disease causes mouth and throat muscles to weaken, making it difficult to chew solid foods. Here are a few ways to overcome these swallowing problems. 


When your loved one starts to show signs that eating is becoming difficult, contact the doctor for an evaluation. A swallow study may be ordered to assess your loved one’s aspiration risk and can be used to determine what foods can be tolerated. This will reduce the risk of choking on food or developing pneumonia.

Difficulty swallowing and other eating issues in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease can make caring for aging adults increasingly challenging. If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Oshkosh, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Senior Stride Home Care, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more.


The doctor may also be able to recommend a speech therapist who can offer your loved one specific exercises to overcome mouth and throat muscle weakness. These should be performed regularly with the help of a family member or professional caregiver to aid chewing and swallowing. Different swallowing techniques can also be taught, which can ease swallowing problems in some seniors.


Modifications to the diet can be made that consist of eating soft, strained, or pureed foods and thickened liquids. Depending on how severe the dysphagia has become, the consistency of liquids can be modified to the thickness of honey or pudding. It’s important that enough nutrients are consumed to keep your loved one as strong as possible.

Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable elder care. Families trust Senior Stride Home Care to provide the high-quality care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.


The ability to chew and swallow is influenced by how the senior is positioned while eating. An upright position is best, and your loved one should sit at a 90-degree angle and with a forward tilt to the head. The upright position should be held for 15–20 minutes following a meal.

For many inexperienced caregivers, identifying new symptoms associated with the disease may be difficult. Here are a few signs your loved one may have developed a swallowing disorder: 

  • Excessive drooling
  • Constant coughing or choking
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Heartburn
  • Eating slowly
  • Difficulty swallowing medication

Caring for a loved one with advanced Parkinson’s can be extremely challenging, and a compassionate, professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Senior Stride Home Care, an Oshkosh homecare services agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services. Call us today at 920-717-1767 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.

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