One serious form of elderly abuse or neglect is choking. Elderly individuals may suffer a choking incident while residing in a nursing home or an assisted living facility. The National Safety Council has found that choking is the fourth most common cause of injury death that is unintentional. In 2015, 56% of the 5,051 individuals who died as a result of a choking injury were older than the age of 74.
The elderly population is at a higher risk than the general population of suffering a choking injury. One of the reasons for this is due to aging and called dysphagia. This is a term for difficulty with swallowing for age-related reasons. It is believed that this condition happens because of a loss of muscle strength in the mouth and throat, which then makes it difficult for the elderly person to swallow hard or dry foods.
Another reason that an elderly person tends to be at a greater risk than the average person for suffering a choking injury is due to the prevalence of degenerative diseases in the elderly population. Degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, can impact a person’s ability to swallow. An elderly individual is also susceptible to experiencing dry mouth as a result of certain medications they are taking. This condition can contribute to a choking injury.
Elderly persons are also more likely to have dentures, as compared to the general population. Dentures can cause problems with swallowing. For elderly individuals who have suffered stroke injuries, there may also be an increased risk of choking injury down the road as the mouth and throat muscles may have been affected by the stroke.
There are some common signs and indicators that you can look for if you are concerned someone may be choking.
Choking injuries can have serious and lasting consequences and may even result in death. It is possible for a choking injury to cause serious brain damage as a result of the oxygen having been cut off from the brain. It is vital to take precautions in order to help protect nursing home residents from suffering from choking injuries.
Nursing home residents may suffer from choking injuries for a number of different reasons. One common reason is that the nursing home staff is not sufficiently trained or experienced and is therefore not capable of handling an emergency like this. Another reason for this is that nursing homes are often inadequately staffed. In these scenarios, the nursing home or assisted living facility may be at fault for the elderly person’s injuries associated with the choking incident.
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