Managing swallowing issues this Christmas
Sitting down with your loved ones to indulge in a delicious Christmas meal is one of the great joys of the festive season.
Unfortunately for those living with swallowing issues, known as dysphagia, the sight of a table laden with ham, turkey and other treats can be a little intimidating.
To ensure everyone enjoys this year’s holiday feast we’ve put together some expert tips from Northcott speech pathologist Angelina Josevska.
Get the texture right
Each person with dysphagia will have their own unique needs in terms of texture modification and thickened fluids. It’s important to understand what type of diet a speech pathologist has prescribed, whether that be soft, minced or puree.
Each different texture will dictate how foods should be prepared to ensure they can be consumed safely, minimising the rise of choking or aspiration – where food gets sucked into the airway.
Keep items separate
If there’s one thing all those social media food pics have taught us, it’s that we eat with our eyes. Sitting down to a big pile of brown mush is enough to turn anyone off their meal.
When preparing pureed and mashed foods, keep veggies and meat separate rather than mixing them together. Each food can then be enjoyed for its own unique flavour.
Make use of moulds
Get creative with your meals by utilising food moulds by companies like Flavour Creations. Turning carrot puree into a carrot shape, or red meat puree into a meat shape can help to make foods appear more familiar and appealing.
Set the mood
Sitting down to a meal is about more than just the food. Getting into the Christmas spirit with themed table settings, décor and music can help to lift everyone’s spirits and make the event full of festive fun.
Christmas is a time to enjoy with the people around us but as a carer it can be tempting to focus too much on the task at hand. Instead take some time to sit down for a bite to eat to make it a more social event.
When dining with those with swallowing issues remember to be respectful by offering similar foods to the Christmas meal – e.g. pureed roast chicken if you’re serving chicken – and avoid eating foods that you know that person loves but can’t consume.
For more information on managing swallowing issues at mealtimes contact Northcott’s Speech Therapy service.