What if you were afraid to ever bite into an apple again?

Local older people’s charity Mid and East Antrim Agewell Partnership are raising awareness of how common swallowing difficulties can be, and how best to deal with them.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 8:30 am

Eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties (or dysphagia) is more common than people think. Research has shown that 16 – 23% of the general population have difficulties eating, drinking or swallowing, rising to 27% of those over 76 years.

Through a partnership with Northern Health and Social Care Trust they have produced an information booklet help those living with eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties to manage their condition better, funded by The Community Foundation Northern Ireland, Community Innovators programme.

MEAAP has also planned a ‘HARD TO SWALLOW’ awareness campaign during the month of March, and have organised training on the condition.

Awareness session about difficulties with swallowing.

The session will be held on March 11 at 1.30pm via Zoom.

Louise O’Neill, Speech & Language Therapist and Jemma Jackson, Dietician, will discuss how to recognise the signs of the condition, explain what professional help is available and discuss practical tips on managing the condition better and saver.

They aim for all residents in the Mid & East Antrim area to be aware of this condition and to know what help is available. All those interested to find out more can contact MEAAP and attend the training.

When Dee choked on a piece of apple last year, despite her many years working as a nurse, she had no idea this would be the first sign that she was actually experiencing a stroke.

Returning home from hospital, everyday actions of eating and drinking became a constant source of fear and anxiety for her, as she feared eating the wrong thing could lead to a choking incident.

Through her treatment for the stroke Dee received support from Speech & Language Therapy team from the Northern Trust and was given exercises to help her swallow and was advised to change the texture of her meals. This support helped her to regain her confidence and overtime she started to overcome some of her swallowing difficulties.

Eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties can occur as a result of many health conditions trauma, cancer and brain related conditions or head and neck surgery. The symptoms often go unreported and left undiagnosed.

If you would like to receive a copy of the booklet or attend the training contact MEAAP on 028 256 586 04