Managing dysphagia in older people with dementia.

Research paper by Gaye G Kyle

Indexed on: 01 Feb '11Published on: 01 Feb '11Published in: British journal of community nursing


In the UK there is an increasing ageing population, bringing with it a host of degenerative conditions such as dementia. Dementia is a common condition among older people. In the UK there are estimated to be over 750 000 people with dementia and numbers are expected to double in the next 30 years (Comas-Herrera et al, 2007). The term 'dementia' is used to describe a syndrome which may be caused by a number of illnesses and is associated with ongoing decline of the brain and its abilities. There are many types of dementia, the most common are Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's which accounts for 62% of all cases. Vascular dementia either alone or co-existent with Alzheimer's, is the second most common subtype of dementia (Knapp et al, 2007). Dementia is associated with complex needs especially in the later stages, and can have a devastating effect on the individual, their family and friends. The care needs often challenge the skills and capacity of carers especially when normal every-day activities decline. Food and drink are fundamental to living. Consequently observing individuals struggling with eating and drinking not only poses difficulties for professionals but also raises emotional issues for the individual and their family.