Swallowing Disorders in the Older Population

Colleen Christmas, MD; Nicole Rogus-Pulia, PhD, CCC-SLP


J Am Geriatr Soc. 2019;67(12):2643-2649. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Swallowing problems, or dysphagia, are common as people age, and are associated with significant negative outcomes, including weight loss, pneumonia, dehydration, shortened life expectancy, reduced quality of life, and increased caregiver burden. In this article, we will discuss the complex process of swallowing in normal circumstances and with healthy aging, then review etiologies that contribute to dysphagia. We will discuss approaches to evaluating and treating dysphagia, providing relevant data where they are available. We highlight the desperate need for high-quality research to guide best practices in treating dysphagia in older adults.