Dangerous Foods: Common Choking Hazards for the Elderly

Two elderly women eating breakfast at the kitchen tableTaking care of your elderly parents necessitates being aware of the everyday dangers that can affect them. Choking is one such real risk.

Even though statistics show that the use of dentures has lessened due to attentive dental care, certain foods still pose a problem.

Here is a list of common choking hazards and easy substitutions.

While this list gives a great overview, nothing beats a chat with your family doctor nutritionist and elderly parent or relative. Combined, a comprehensive plan of action can be formed.


Large chucks of meat can be very hard to chew, and as such, swallow safely. It is highly recommendable to avoid hard meats, like steak, and big pieces of meat in general. Great substitutions include ground meats (like chicken, turkey or veal), julienned slices of softened lamb and hotdogs, and fileted fish. It is almost always better to cut up food, and remove any hard peel or skin attached.


Large chucks of fruit pose a serious danger to eating elderly. Fruit that are especially hard, like apples, pineapples and plums should peeled completely and cut into easy to chew bites. Pureed versions of these fruits, like applesauce or blended plums might also be a great option to consider.


Bread poses to a threat because if it gets stuck in the airway, water can cause it to swell and block the air passage. Cake and milk together poses a similar issue. Toasting slices of bread and softening them with butter is a simple way to avoid any issues. Substituting other desserts, like mouse, ice cream or whipcream and fruit for cake also lessons issues.


Some liquids, like water, can pose choking hazards because of the lack of thickness. Speak to your doctor or nutritionist about thickening agents and substitutions.

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Alvita Care is a fully licensed home healthcare company providing premier in home caregiver services to seniors living in New York City and on Long Island NY. With offices in Midtown Manhattan and Hauppauge NY, Alvita Care was founded in 2008 upon the idea of "Care Without Compromise". Our care-giving services enhance seniors' lives, by improving their well-being, dignity and independence. We have earned The Joint Commissions Gold Seal of Approval and pride ourselves with our proprietary caregiver matching process that carefully matches our experience caregivers to each client based on personality and technical skills needed. Alvita Care can help whether you need assistance for several hours a few times a week or you require live-in or around-the-clock assistance. Our caregivers provide assurance and relief to families by relieving their anxiety, knowing that their loved one is safe, happy and lovingly cared for.