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Dysphagia - Part IV

Tips for safely managing dysphagia at home

Safely thicken medications

If your older adult used to take oral medications with water, they’ll now need to swallow them with a thickened beverage. Or, the pills will need to be crushed up and mixed in with a thicker food like pudding or applesauce. Crushed pills typically taste horrible and are difficult for most people to tolerate (probably why they were encased in the first place). Using chocolate or vanilla pudding, applesauce, or something else sweet to mask the strong bitter flavor of medication is always a good idea.

Important: Some pills are labeled as ‘not to be crushed,’ so always talk with the pharmacist about the medications your older adult is taking, if their pills can be crushed, and if you should avoid mixing them with anything specific. An ‘oral suspension’ (liquid version) of your older adult’s medicine may be a better alternative since it can be easily thickened.

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