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Huntington's Disease Caregiving

Swallowing Safety in HD
What Is A Caregiver?
What Is An HD Caregiver?
Caregiving For A Spouse
Caregivers Bill of Rights
Helping Your Loved One
Your pHD Is Unique!
About Huntington's Disease
HD Articles of Interest
HD Guidebooks
Post Emergency Info
Early/ Early Intermediate Stages
Late Intermediate Stage
Swallowing Diagnostic
Speech & Language in HD
Swallowing Safety in HD
Early Advanced Stage
Swallowing Difficulties~Physician's Guide
Warning Signs of Swallowing Problems
Swallowing, Coughing, Choking & Pneumonia
Swallowing~Giving Medication
A Practical Guide: Nutrition and HD & Resources
Diet & Nutrition in HD
Nutrition and Huntington's Disease
Nutrition Information for the Care Giver
Texture & Consistency/Thining & Thickening Foods
Drinks/Shakes Recipes
Adaptive Equipment-Mealtime Help
Food Thickners
What Is A Feeding Tube?
When To Consider A Feeding Tube
Feeding Tube Decision in HD
Feeding Tube Resources
Advanced Stage
Late Stage Care
Commom Problems Encountered~Hospice Care
Temporary List of Resources
Personality Issues
Legal Issues
Disability Issues
At Home Care
Outside Care
Caregiver Tips
Caregiver Support
HD Facts
Helpful Forms-Download
Personal Articles/Stories
Miller Messages
HD Links
Fix It-R-Us?
How-To Tips
Have An HD Question?
Beautiful Memories
Caregiver's Chat Room
HD Caregiver Newsletter
Daily Humor & Health News
Dreams & Signs (Fun Stuff)
Share A Link
Send An HD Greeting Card
Location Map
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Feeding and Nutrition Tips for caregivers, Speech Language Pathologists,
and patients with Huntington Disease


  • diet must be specified to the particular patient's needs and desires
  • diet should have variety in consistency
  • diet should be well balanced to maintain nutrition and hydration...this person may be dependent on you!
  • supplements may be needed such as vitamins or even a short term feeding tube
  • discuss the plan with caregivers, family members, patient, speech language pathologist, nutritionist, and physician


  • one way people maintain independence is by feeding themselves
  • never leave a patient alone while eating  dysphagia is a factor
  • length of time eating is not always a sign of how many nutrients are being taken in, a large amount of food can be wasted during the struggle to eat
Certain textures are easier then others to swallow, here are some helpful tips about food texture:
  • thin liquids are the hardest to swallow and cause the most difficulty for Huntington's patients
  • also, frozen liquids...remember they melt into thin liquids
  • dairy products may cause excess secretions but this varies
  • temperate foods are easier to swallow then those that are very hot or very cold
  • fruits and vegetables with skins, pits, or membranes should be avoided these are very easy to choke on
  • nuts, seeds, coconut, and dried fruit should be avoided they are hard to swallow
  • stringy vegetables (celery and asparagus) should be avoided
Because each patient has different needs and abilities,  a Speech Language Patho-logist must always be consulted when developing a plan for dysphagia inter-vention.
After doing a detailed diagnostic (Modified Barium Swallow), an SLP may help you implement some of the following:
  • a specific diet limiting hard to swallow foods (such as thin liquids)
  • makes eating pleasant
  • quiet and calm
  • avoid eating when upset or tired
  • do not overtax the system
  • do not eat while talking
Decreases excess movement and decreases chance of choking
  • upright with head and neck support
  • "chin tuck": directs food directly toward the esophagus preventing aspiration, if the patient has a weakness on one side turn the head toward that side as well
  • sit upright after eating for about 20 minutes to keep the patient from aspirating any reflux that may occur
  • have patient do a dry swallow after swallowing
DIET CHANGES: makes eating safer
  • keep food amounts small try using a smaller fork or spoon
  • Wait until you are completely finished swallowing and clearing a bite of food before you get ready to take another bite