Eating Safety and Quality of Life Safe eating and swallowing are essential for maintaining nutrition and good health. As we age, we may experience normal changes in our chewing and swallowing abilities, sometimes leading to discomfort. A Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) can provide strategies to reduce minor difficulties when you are eating and drinking. For some people, difficulties associated with eating and swallowing might be associated with one or more medical conditions such as Parkinson's disease or dementia, stroke, head injury, or structural changes. Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) can affect your health in several ways and have a significant impact on your quality of life. If you experience any of the following when you eat and drink, you should consult your family doctor and ask about a referral to an SLP for a swallowing assessment: Symptoms Coughing or clearing your throat when eating/drinking or immediately after Choking Increased effort or difficulty with chewing or swallowing Food sticking in your throat A wet or gurgly voice during or immediately after eating/drinking Avoidance of certain foods because of fear of choking Spitting out of food or food pieces Taking longer than usual to complete a meal Fatigue during the meal Dysphagia may also affect your social life by limiting your activities; e.g., if you avoid eating in restaurants or with friends or decline invitations for celebrations because of your mealtime difficulties. Our Speech-Language Pathologists provide care for individuals with dysphagia through assessment, treatment and counselling, based on best practices and current research. With our knowledge and expertise in dysphagia, our services are tailored to the specific needs of both geriatric clients and people with neurological or medical illnesses. If you suspect that you have a swallowing problem, call The Swallowing Clinic at (416) 785-2500, ext. 2352 for guidance. Referrals from your doctor can be faxed to (416) 785-5533. Fee: currently there is no charge for The Swallowing Clinic.