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5 Thoughts to Help a Relative When Considering Aged Care

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Aging is a reality that we all face.

One of the biggest hurdles is the change to moving into an aged care home or residential facility. This life change can bring on a variety of emotions for both the person moving and their family. There may be feelings and concerns with loss of freedom, and a change from the routine of day to day.

Here are 5 points to consider when helping a relative move towards aged care.

Plant the idea of moving into the aged care center as "just an idea", in the beginning. If you approach the idea as a conversation and consider your relatives  reaction you might find their response will be more willing to think the idea over. In any case, it will go over better than an ultimatum. Telling them they are going or coming at your relative as though the decision has already been made for them, will likely be met with resistance. And with good reason. No one wants to feel like their choices are being taken away from them.

Listen to their fears and concerns. We all need validation, especially when facing big changes and decisions. Validating how they feel and any concerns they may have can help them to cope and handle the change positively.

Get their input. This is potentially the place they will live out their last days. Discuss and understand what they want from aged care. Find a facility that matches their requirements.

Thickened Juice for dysphagia


Help them to socialise, locate groups of friends. Family is great, but everyone needs friends. Friends provide a perspective that relatives don't often see. Try to find a way to socalise with people in the facility community, before your relative moves in.

Choose somewhere close by and visit often. Doesn't need saying does it? One of the saddest things for someone who is accustomed to seeing family on a regular basis is when no one comes to see them anymore and the loneliness begins to set in.

Regardless of the way you approach aged care with your relative you may still be met with emotional upset and resistance. It is very hard for us to change from what we’ve always known, and the unknown can be terrifying for anyone of any age. Ensuring that they know you love them and have their best interest in mind can help the process. It doesn’t have to be hard, but be understanding if there are difficulties. Love and understanding will go a long way.


Louise Procter is a writer for Christian Brethren Community Services www.cbcs.com.au. Living by the beach, on the sunny South Coast of NSW she enjoys sipping a good strong coffee whilst creating articles that provide information and inspiration to readers to help them in their everyday lives.

Oral Hygiene – Linking Oral Bacteria and Aspiration Pneumonia

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Looking after your mouth is even more important than you might think. It’s common knowledge that reduced brushing and flossing can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. However, poor oral hygiene has also been linked to other serious conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, diabetes, stomach ulcers, dementia and some cancers. It can also lead to respiratory diseases, including aspiration pneumonia, which occurs when foreign material enters the airway and causes an infection in the lungs.

When the mouth is not clean, bacteria can grow and multiply quickly. If bacteria is inhaled (aspirated) with food, drink, or saliva, it’s much more likely that the person will develop aspiration pneumonia. People who have dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) have a higher risk of aspirating, as they may have difficulty protecting the airway while swallowing. This means that material can enter the trachea (windpipe) and travel towards the lungs. Aspiration pneumonia can be severe enough to cause death, particularly in the elderly or those with compromised immune systems.

Oral Hygiene - Linking Oral Bacteria and Aspiration Pneumonia {blog Post} Click To Tweet

People at Increased Risk

People at increased risk of developing oral disease include the elderly and those who have:

·      Diabetes

·      Dementia

·      Osteoporosis

·      HIV/AIDS

·      Dry mouth (often as a result of a medical condition or medication)

·      High alcohol consumption

·      Tobacco use

·      Poor diets, especially those high in sugar

It has also been found that people who rely on others to perform their mouth care (i.e. a person who is physically or cognitively unable to perform their own hygiene tasks) are at significantly increased risk of developing oral health issues and aspiration pneumonia.


Maintaining a Healthy Mouth

The risk of developing aspiration pneumonia can be greatly reduced by maintaining a healthy mouth. It is important to:

·      Brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush at least twice a day, ensuring that all surfaces are free of residue (teeth, gums, tongue, palate [roof of mouth], inside cheeks, and under tongue)

·      Use a high fluoride toothpaste

·      Drink water or rinse your mouth out after meals to remove food particles

·      Avoid mouthwashes with ethanol (alcohol)

·      Use oral moisturising products if dry mouth is a problem

·      Avoid tobacco use

·      Limit alcohol consumption

·      Check regularly for any issues, such as redness, swelling, pain, bleeding, tooth discolouration, coating on oral surfaces or bad breath. If these are observed it is important to see a dentist or doctor promptly.

·      If wearing dentures, they should be removed and brushed twice a day, rinsed after meals and soaked in water overnight.


If you perform oral care for someone else, detailed information and instructions can be found in this resource, which was developed for staff in residential aged care.


Glenys is the Marketing Specialist at Precise. She looks after the Precise social media properties, the websites and manages the advertising requirements of the business. Away from work Glenys enjoys looking after her two boys and singing with her choir.



5 Good Posture and Core Connection Exercises for Wellness

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It is becoming increasingly well known that poor posture will affect everything in your life and that good posture gives you more energy, less stress and better productivity. Here are 5 posture and core connection exercises for increased fitness, better sleep, productivity and more for all ages.

Without good posture, you are not able to be physically fit... read more here... Click To Tweet

Good posture means your bones are aligned, your muscles, joints and ligaments can work as they are meant to work and your vital organs are in the right position.

Normal functioning of the nervous system and overall health is improved, because the long-term effects of poor posture can affect digestion, elimination, breathing, muscles, joints and ligaments and a person who has poor posture may often be tired, unable to work efficiently or even move properly.

The good news is that most everyone can avoid the problems caused by bad posture and you can make improvements at any age. Below are a few YogaPilates Fusion® exercises to increase your postural awareness.

(1) The Roll Down:.

This will help to balance the muscles that support the spine as you gradually roll down towards to floor or mat or while sitting on a chair, at the same time drawing your abdominal muscles on the breath out…..Roll back up stacking one vertebra on the other till standing tall, crown of head to ceiling. Modification: If need be this can also be done sitting on a chair, but remember to switch on your core abdominal muscles

(2) Cat Stretch:

On all 4’s inhale through the nose and on the exhale arch the spine drawing in the abdominals gently taking chin towards chest, inhale and reverse the other direction feeling each vertebra. Modification: This can be done standing using the back of a chair, edge of table or a ballet barre keeping knees soft.

Thickened Juice for dysphagia

(3) Spine Twist:

One of the most important exercises for the spine and posture.

Anyone who sits at a desk or does not move in a variety of positions throughout the day needs to do this every day. Standing or sitting on the floor/mat or on a chair, spine lengthened, crown of head to ceiling, inhale through the nose and on the exhale through the mouth turn to your right and take it to 3 little pulses on the breath out, inhale again and turn to your left, arms can be outstretched, or hands on shoulders, or on the knee if sitting at your desk.

(4) Plank:

Most important for engaging core, strength, balance, focus, alignment.

Place arms under shoulders and extend legs back engaging core. Picture the back as a plank, lengthened neck, core switched on and imagine balancing a cup of tea or glass of champagne on your back or on all 4’s. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth engaging core on the exhale. Hold for 3 inhales and exhales. Modification: On forearms, rather than hand/wrist.

(5) Pilates Side Plank:

Strength, posture, core engagement, power and the ultimate body stabilising, muscle alignment and cardio and strength building exercise. From a side sitting position raise to extended arm or elbow if having wrist issues on an inhale, go to knee or slide out both legs with top foot crossed over bottom foot for support. Extend arm laterally and feel the amazing benefit while holding for 3 inhales and exhales. This side plank position will also increase your heart rate thus increasing cardiovascular strength also. Modifications: Side sitting rather than lift, but use core and awareness of alignment.

Photos in the body of the article are of Jill Healy-Quintard.

(BA Dip.Ed, Cert 4 Fitness, Dip. Stott Pilates, Dip Yoga Therapies, Cert. Mental 1st Aid)
Jill Healy-Quintard has trained and worked for more than 30 years in fitness and wellness for the body and the mind.
Shape Your Body, Shape Your Mind....

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What Does Consumer Directed Care Really Mean?

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What does consumer directed care really mean?


Possibly the best examples of this type of care is through the stories of the residents, staff and carers that embody consumer care on a daily basis.  Below is one example explained by Nick Loudon the CEO & Managing Director of the Seasons Group.

One of the Seasons residents is a 94 year old war veteran - let's call him Nev (he'd be too embarrassed if I identified him). Nev, a sergeant, is a veteran of World War 2, he fought at Tobruk and El Alamein, in the jungles of Papua New Guinea and later trained the ANZAC Para troops before they were dropped behind the lines into Borneo.

Nev is now almost completely blind and mobilises with the use of a wheelie walker, but he is still the staunchly independent man he was 60 years ago. Nev is "responsible" for his wife and cares for her every day. Neola is Nev's life partner, they've been married for almost 70 years - at 91 Neola's health has been failing in recent years but she's managed a rally of sorts over the last couple of months and the doctors tell Nev he can try her with something a little more substantial, perhaps a boiled egg for breakfast.

Given that both Nev and Neola are in "formal care" a boiled egg should be pretty straight forward - just boil the egg and feed it to her, right?


Nev is responsible for his wife, always has been, always will be. Nev wants to boil an egg for his wife and help her eat it (not have some carer do it) and that's exactly what happened. Sure there are risks, Nev can't see and is mobility impaired, but what about the dignity that goes with the risk, sure it takes extra thought and planning, but that's what the customer wants - Nev and Neola, they are the customer, they are a single unit. They are proud people, every bit in love today as they were 70 years ago - they're entitled to determine their own lives as they always have, we are obliged to support them to do so.

"I'm immensely proud of what we do at Seasons - that's consumer directed care." said Nick Loudon, the CEO & Managing Director of the Seasons Group.

Choosing aged care is one of the most important decisions you can make. {read on} Click To Tweet


Choosing Aged Care

Planning for and choosing aged care is one of the most important decisions you can ever make. After all, you want to be sure you are well cared for, have everything you need and you will be happy living there. Things to consider are:

  • The types of medical and personal need required by the individual
    The atmosphere and lifestyle they wish to lead.
    The staff at the facility being considered.
    Contracts and fees.
    Safety and security.

This helpful download has a number of questions to consider on each of those points. Mouse over the below image and click to save the pdf download.

Choosing aged care - comsumer directed care

Nick believes passionately that at every stage and every age, each of us strive for is “Quality of Life”. He is determined that advanced age is no more a “disease” than is youth, both have their challenges. Nick’s vision is that Aged Care, focused on quality of life and respect for the choices of our elders can be delivered in any location.

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Improve Well Being with Laughter Yoga

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Laughter Yoga for wellbeing

Laughter yoga is a unique exercise routine that combines simulated laughter exercises with yogic breathing (pranayama), and clapping.  It is an ideal activity to conduct with older people with its many associated physical, emotional and social health benefits.  It is a great way to enhance oxygen levels in the body, which helps energize the body, and, with the release of endorphins, helps elevate mood and fight depression.  Even though the laughter initially begins as a simulated exercise, as long as people choose to laugh with the right intention, the body cannot differentiate between real and fake laughter.

Laughter Yoga provides a gentle mind and body workout and can be done anywhere {learn more} Click To Tweet

The benefit with older people is that laughter yoga can be conducted anywhere, even in the comfort of their bedroom and does not require a lot of physical energy, whilst still providing a gentle mind and body workout.

Laughter yoga sessions start with gentle warm-up techniques, which include stretching, chanting ho, ho, ha, ha, ha, clapping and body movement.  In people with limited movement or functioning, laughter yoga and warm-up exercises can easily be modified.  In an older audience laughter sessions are generally conducted whilst seated.  Chairs are configured so residents can have some form of eye contact with one another. From here the active laughter session begins with a series of different laughs to promote fine and gross motor skills, playfulness, vocal sounds and decrease stress.  Different laughter exercises include the greeting laugh, tapping the body awake laugh, triathlon laugh, catching a ‘laughter’ ball, mobile phone laugh and singing laugh. Sessions end with a smiling and laughter mindfulness practice.

Breathing is a very important aspect of laughter yoga. In laughter yoga, the aim is to slow down and deepen breathing. This helps eliminate residual air in the lungs and stimulates the parasympathetic system, which is the calming branch of the autonomic system.


Laughter is a very social function, and as a result is a very effective way of connecting people, no matter the age. Even in people with dementia, I have found people often respond with a smile and are more engaged during and after a session. In many respects laughter between people causes a family-like bond, helping people to relax and feel joyful.

A summary of the health benefits of laughter:

  • Boosts the immune system
  • Increases endorphins
  • Increases oxygenation and metabolism
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system
  • Relieves stress, muscle tension and controls pain
  • Stimulates both sides of the brain- just like meditation
  • Socially connects people
  • Cardiovascular – Stimulates heart rate and blood pressure followed by a relaxation phase.


In partnership with La Trobe University, Ros conducted the “Laugh out Loud” (LOL) laughter yoga program for residents and staff in over 35 residential aged care facilities across Victoria. For more information or to book a laughter yoga session, please visit www.laughlife.com.au

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Swallowing Awareness Day

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Swallowing Awareness Day Logo

Swallowing is an act that humans perform over 900 times each day. It is a complex process that involves 26 muscles and many nerves, and requires precise coordination and muscle strength. Most people don’t pay much attention to their swallowing, because it’s safe, quick and painless. However, for around 1 million Australians it’s hard to ignore, due to dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing.

Fact: Humans swallow around 3 times an hour during sleep. #900swallows More facts on… Click To Tweet

Dysphagia can be caused by many conditions, including:

  • Stroke
  • Brain injury
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Dementia
  • Motor Neurone Disease
  • Cancer (particularly head and neck cancer)
  • Cleft Palate
  • Cerebral Palsy

People who have difficulty swallowing can cough, choke, or gag when eating or drinking, because food and drink can enter the airway and reach the lungs. This can cause serious chest infections called aspiration pneumonia, which can be life threatening. People with dysphagia are also at risk of malnutrition and dehydration due to inadequate food and drink intake. Social withdrawal can be another consequence of dysphagia, as many people are embarrassed or anxious about their swallowing difficulties.

Dysphagia management

Speech pathologists are the professionals who assess and treat dysphagia. Speech Pathology Australia, the national peak body for speech pathologists, says “Swallowing Awareness Day is an opportunity for all of us to learn more about swallowing difficulties and how they impact on the lives of our friends, neighbours and our wider community.” To find a speech pathologist in your area, or to find out more about Swallowing Awareness Day, visit the Speech Pathology Australia website.

Infographic Swallowing Awareness Day


Glenys is the Marketing Specialist at Precise. She looks after the Precise social media properties, the websites and manages the advertising requirements of the business. Away from work Glenys enjoys looking after her two boys and singing with her choir.




Mealtime Strategies for People with Dementia

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mealtimes for dementia

Mealtimes are one of the everyday activities commonly affected when a person has dementia. There are many mealtime difficulties a person may experience. The following strategies may assist in making mealtimes more effective. (This is a part 2 post on mealtimes and dementia, read part one... click here)

Reduce distractions

As dementia progresses, people can become easily distracted by noise, movement, and clutter, which may become overwhelming and make it difficult to concentrate on a meal. It helps to have meals in a quiet, well-lit room with the TV and radio turned off. Some quiet background music can be beneficial. The table should also be free of clutter, for example flowers or magazines.

These strategies may assist in making mealtimes more effective for those with dementia... Click To Tweet

Present one dish at a time

This is an important part of reducing distractions so that the person with dementia can focus on the food item in front of them. For example, instead of putting all of the food and drink for a meal on the table, just offer one plate and the required cutlery for that dish. When the person is finished, remove the plate and cutlery and replace with the next course. By doing this all of the person’s attention can be on the food they are eating at the time.

Use safe swallowing strategies

If a person with dementia has swallowing difficulties (dysphagia), they should see a speech pathologist, who may recommend exercises, swallowing strategies, modification of food texture, and/or to make swallowing safer and easier. In general, it is important that the person is sitting upright for all food and drinks (e.g. not lying in bed or reclining in a chair). Another way to maximise swallowing safety during meals is for the person to not eat too quickly and not take big mouthfuls of food and drink. A person with dementia may need reminding to follow these strategies.

Ensure food is appealing

People with dementia can have reduced interest in food, loss of taste and smell, poor appetite, as well as difficulty recognising food and drink.  It can help to keep food separate on the plate rather than mixing in together so that each element is recognisable. Tailoring meals towards the person’s individual preferences can also encourage intake. It is worth noting that these preferences may change as the dementia progresses, and that many people with dementia develop a preference for sweeter foods.

Offer smaller, more frequent meals

Sometimes a large meal in one sitting can be overwhelming for a person with dementia. If this is the case, then offering smaller meals, more frequently throughout the day can be beneficial. Many people with dementia prefer to eat finger foods as it is easier for them to do so independently. It can be helpful to talk to a dietitian about ways to maximise the nutritional content of food if the person is not eating or drinking enough.

Thickened Juice for dysphagia

Provide assistance at mealtimes

It is important for the person with dementia to maintain as much independence as possible. However, as the dementia progresses, the person will require more assistance with their food and drink intake. This may just involve having someone sitting at the table with them providing verbal cues, but at the advanced stage it is likely the person will require someone to feed them.

For more information on ways to help at mealtimes, visit Alzheimer’s Australia.

Glenys is the Marketing Specialist at Precise. She looks after the Precise social media properties, the websites and manages the advertising requirements of the business. Away from work Glenys enjoys looking after her two boys and singing with her choir.



8 Tips for Elderly Hearing Health

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protecting hearing

Hearing loss affects 1 in 6 Australians.  As we approach and pass 50 years the natural aging of our ears and lifetime noise exposure results in hearing loss (initially showing as difficulty hearing in background noise) and other signs of ear injury such as tinnitus.

  1. Protect your hearing from noise around the home.

    Gardening tools and even some kitchen appliances produce sound at ear damaging levels.  Damage to the ears occurs through a combination of the level and duration of sound.

  1. Take care with noisy hobbies.

    If you are a musician or music lover listening to music at loud levels for long periods of time can damage your ears.  Lower the level and length of time listening to music and get a pair of musician’s earplugs that preserve sound quality but lower the volume.

    Hearing loss affects 1 in 6 Australians. Read these 8 tips for healthy hearing if over 50 -> Click To Tweet
  1. Keep the brain active.

    Lots of evidence is emerging that hearing loss can lead to poorer cognition (thinking) as we age.  Also there is evidence that hearing aids reduce or slow this decline in brain ability.  Early adoption of hearing aids is good for your hearing and brain health.

  1. Discuss use of new medications with your GP.

    If tinnitus develops after taking a new medication discuss this with the prescribing doctor to see if there are any alternatives.

  1. Investigate hearing loss.

    Not all hearing loss is permanent, some common causes (such as impacted ear wax) can be easily managed. A hearing test by an audiologist can help discover the cause of hearing loss and what the best steps to managing the problem are.

  1. Reduce tinnitus stress.

    Tinnitus can be very distressing and for some people very disruptive to daily activities such as sleep and enjoyment of quiet.  It is a myth that nothing can be done to help tinnitus.  Hearing aids can help with both hearing loss & tinnitus. Listening to tinnitus treatment sounds can reduce the tinnitus and brain retraining can enable you to automatically become totally unaware of the tinnitus noises.

  1. Don’t clean your ears yourself.

    The wax of your ear is a natural cleansing agent.

  1. Reduce chance of “surfers ear”.

    Long-term exposure to water (especially cold water) can result in the ear canals closing up overtime. If you are a keen swimmer or surfer we recommend using custom-fitted swimmer’s earplugs to reduce this risk.


Prepared by: Associate Prof Grant Searchfield, and Tom Donaldson

University of Auckland and Tinnitus Tunes



An Interview with Dr Julie Cichero

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Julie Cichero

Dr Julie Cichero is internationally recognised for expertise in the field of feeding and swallowing disorders. She has worked clinically and conducted research into swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) from infancy to old age. She has worked in a range of public and private health care settings. Julie has been a lecturer and researcher affiliated with The University of Queensland since 1996 with and is currently an Honorary Senior Fellow with the School of Pharmacy. She is also an affiliate with the Schools of Chemical Engineering and Food Technology (UQ) and Speech Pathology (Griffith University). Julie is an invited national and international speaker in the area of dysphagia, and reviewer for 19 international journals in the fields of medicine, nursing, speech pathology, allied health, chemical engineering, nutrition and food technology. She has published more than 30 journal articles and co-authored four books. Dysphagia: Foundation, Theory and Practice (2006, Wiley & Sons Inc.) More peas please: Solutions for feeding fussy eaters (2009, Allen & Unwin) Stepping Stones to Living Well with Dysphagia (Karger, 2012) and The Essential Dysphagia Handbook (2013, Create Space). Julie is currently co-chair for the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (www.iddsi.org).
Her research interests lie in thickened liquids and texture modified food; tablet swallowing; fussy/picky eating; dysphagia screening and cervical auscultation. (Source - LinkedIn)


Dr Cichero how and when did dysphagia become a focus for you in your speech pathology practice?

Dysphagia became a focus when I worked as a new grad in Melbourne first in rehab and then in acute care. It really brought home that the ability to eat, or not eat/drink can have a devastating impact on quality of life. Growing up with a European background, food has always been the centre of life.

What tools do you find indispensable in your daily work activities?

A keen eye, a careful ear for listening to and teasing out symptoms, inquiring attitude, access to great search engines and journal articles and a stethoscope

What’s the best advice you ever received?

“Seek first to understand” - it’s always good to understand an issue from the other person’s perspective rather than assuming you have the answer.

What is still your biggest challenge?

Not being able to help every person back to a normal diet or fluids.

Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?

People with dysphagia are all of those things for me. To have a treatment program that succeeds and see the excitement and joy as people share the foods they have been able to eat again or the joy in finally being able to drink a cup of tea or a glass of water. The ingenuity and bravery of people with dysphagia as they find ways to work around their problem and their willingness to share what they’ve discovered. So much of my research has been inspired by people with dysphagia – from trying to swallow tablets when you have dysphagia, to working out what value ‘thick’ means, understanding why a child is a picky eater or being able to see the change to swallow safety that can occurs when you focus on improving the respiratory side of swallow-respiratory coordination.

You’ve been working long hours pulling together an International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Framework. How has the response been to that over the world? And what was your motivation to get involved in such a big Initiative?
The response to the IDDSI Framework has been overwhelmingly positive. -Dr J Cichero Click To Tweet

The response to the IDDSI Framework has been overwhelmingly and enthusiastically positive. Translations are under way in 11 languages including French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Farsi, Turkish, Hebrew. We recently published the development of the framework in the Dysphagia Journal as an open access publication and it was made available early online on 2 December 2016 – since then, just 7 weeks later, the article has had 4,800 downloads. My motivation for being involved in this initiative is simple – improved safety for people with dysphagia. Our goal is that a standardised international terminology can help the safety of people with dysphagia around the world. We want to reduce tragic choking deaths and other complications from dysphagia such as aspiration that can easily occur if the labelling, and names vary from hospital to hospital, state to state and country to country. It also provides an incredible opportunity to drive dysphagia research forward for better outcomes for people with swallowing disorders.

What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?

Not so much surprising as awe-inspiring – the incredible energy, generosity and positive impact that volunteers can have in a very short space of time. For example: a company volunteered to create an IDDSI app for us when they heard about what we were trying to achieve to improve safety for people with swallowing disorders; and the countless hours of the volunteer Board members and the general community with translation and inclusion of the framework in text books, recipe books and even children’s colouring books!

What’s next for you?

Continuing to assist with Global and Australian implementation of the IDDSI framework, writing, supporting my PhD students and enjoying opportunities to meet clinicians while delivering post grad education.

Dr Cichero, Thank you very much for your time in answering these questions and from all of us here at Precise, best wishes for your future endeavours. Further information on the IDDSI framework can be found here http://iddsi.org/

Thickened Juice for dysphagia

Glenys is the Marketing Specialist at Precise. She looks after the Precise social media properties, the websites and manages the advertising requirements of the business. Away from work Glenys enjoys looking after her two boys and singing with her choir.


How Mealtimes Can Be Affected By Dementia

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Dementia Mealtimes
Dementia is a term that describes the symptom of progressive decline in brain function. There are many causes of dementia, with Alzheimer’s Disease being the most common, accounting for up to 70% of dementia cases. Other causes include vascular dementia, lewy-body disease, fronto-temporal dementia, and alcohol related dementia. Dementia mostly affects people over the age of 65, however, it may be present in younger people.

Each person who has dementia will present in a different way, depending on the parts of the brain that are affected. Common signs of dementia include:

  • Progressive memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Word finding difficulties
  • Changes in personality and behaviour
  • Difficulty performing everyday activities

Mealtimes are often affected by dementia. As dementia progresses, a person is likely to need increased assistance for mealtimes. Common issues include:

Difficulty with self-feeding

A common issue as dementia progresses is difficulty recognising objects and knowing their purpose. A person with dementia may not recognise that food is meant to be eaten, or may pick up a fork, but not know what to do with it. They may also become distracted during mealtimes and may not remember that they were eating or drinking, sometimes leaving the table before finishing a meal.
A person with dementia may not recognise that food is meant to be eaten..read more -> Click To Tweet

Difficulty swallowing (‘dysphagia’)

Difficulty swallowing usually presents in the mid- to late-stages of dementia. It may begin with difficulty chewing harder textures of foods, or coughing on liquids. Often in the late stages of dementia swallowing is profoundly affected, which can increase the risk of choking or aspiration (material entering the airway). A person with dementia may also eat or drink very quickly, taking large mouthfuls, which can exacerbate any swallowing difficulties.

Reduced intake of food and drink

As dementia progresses, there is often loss of taste and smell. This can make eating and drinking less appealing, can change taste preferences and affect appetite. It is common for a person with dementia to begin to choose sweeter foods and drinks, even if they have not preferred them prior to having dementia. A person with dementia may also have difficulties recognising feelings of hunger and may not remember to eat or drink when they are hungry or thirsty.


If you or someone you know is having difficulties with mealtimes associated with dementia, you can access help from your doctor, a speech pathologist, or a dietitian.

Dysphagia management

Glenys is the Marketing Specialist at Precise. She looks after the Precise social media properties, the websites and manages the advertising requirements of the business. Away from work Glenys enjoys looking after her two boys and singing with her choir.