When an elderly person has Parkinson’s disease, muscle spasms sometimes lead to difficulty with swallowing. This means that the saliva they would normally swallow builds up and escapes through the corners of the mouth. If your loved one has difficulty controlling saliva, read on for Tampa senior care experts’ tips for managing saliva production.
1. Clear Excess Saliva
When saliva begins building up in your loved one’s mouth, you can help him or her clear the excess salvia by having him or her chew or suck on ice cubes. After a few minutes, have your loved one switch to taking small sips of soup or room temperature water. This combination of cold ice and warm or hot liquid can help reduce the saliva that has gathered in the mouth and stimulate the swallowing reflex. You can have your loved one repeat this process each time too much saliva builds up in his or her mouth.
2. Encourage Good Posture
As many seniors with Parkinson’s stoop, saliva will sometimes gather in the mouth as a result of the forward tilt of the head. If your senior loved one is able to keep his or her head elevated and facing slightly upward, the angle should direct saliva to the back of the throat. This kind of posture can be difficult to maintain however, so you may consider hiring a Tampa Parkinson’s caregiver who can help your loved one learn to keep their neck straight and can help teach them exercises to strengthen neck and throat muscles.
3. Muscle Injections
If you loved one begins having difficulty speaking, swallowing, or faces a large increase in the amount of saliva produced, he or she may benefit from a trip to the doctor. Speak with your loved one’s physician about whether muscle injections in saliva-producing glands would help. As certain injections may be able to encourage stronger muscle movement in the esophagus and can last up to several months, your loved one may find that regular doctor visits can make a big difference in his or her saliva control.
4. Promote Hydration
Since the saliva that leaks from corners of the mouth isn’t absorbed back into the body, your loved one can quickly become dehydrated. Help ensure that your loved one stays gets enough water by making him or her drink regularly throughout the day. While your loved one may enjoy the occasional cup of fruit juice, encourage him or her to stick with water as sugar and sugary drinks can lead to increased saliva production.
When the symptoms of Parkinson’s make even small tasks like swallowing and managing saliva production difficult for your loved one, a live-in caregiver in Tampa can help. At Home Care Assistance, our professionally trained caregivers can provide physical assistance and around-the-clock monitoring to ensure that your loved one can safely navigate the home and complete daily activities, like personal grooming, bathing, and dressing. Learn more about how Parkinson’s care from Home Care Assistance can benefit your elderly loved one by calling a Care Manager at 727-330-7862 and setting up a complimentary in-home consultation.