Enhancing Swallowing Quality of Life in Older Individuals after the Oropharyngeal Strengthening Exercise

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© 2018 The Korean Association of Speech-Language Pathologists. Purpose: Older individuals may be vulnerable to swallowing disorders due to age-related neuromuscular changes. Although older individuals have swallowing difficulties, they can improve swallowing by the preventive exercise of swallowing. The purpose of this investigation was to examine whether the oropharyngeal strengthening exercise (OSE) has effects on swallowing quality of life in older individuals. Methods: Twenty-seven older individuals performed a 4-week OSE using a home-based and self-administered procedure. They completed the Swallowing Quality of Life questionnaire (SWAL-QOL) before and after a 4-week OSE program. Statistical comparisons were made using a matched pairs t-test (p<0.05). Results: The total scores of the swallowing quality of life questionnaire significantly improved after a 4-week OSE. In addition, participants perceived that physical symptoms related to swallowing were significantly improved after a 4-week OSE. Particularly, frequency of choking during eating was significantly reduced after a 4-week OSE. Conclusions: The OSE contributes swallowing quality of life in older individuals. It may also benefit patients with dysphagia in terms of patient perspectives.