It happened to three of my family members.
First, four days before she died, my Mom had her first swallowing evaluation. At that point, she was unable to eat or drink anything. Her cause of death was dysphagia (swallowing difficulties) and Lewy Body Dementia.
Second, my mother-in-law’s death certificate said one of the causes of her death was Parkinson’s and another cause was malnutrition. She refused a feeding tube and was unable to swallow and ended up malnourished.
Third, my uncle had dementia and died when he choked while eating his lunch.
The similarities among these three individuals are that while they got medical help for the motor symptoms of their medical conditions, they never got referred or received help for their non-motor symptoms, (including speech, voice, and swallowing problems) until it was too late. What were they waiting for? Time waits for no one.
I am proactive in dealing with both the motor and non-motor symptoms of my Parkinson’s. I cannot afford to wait as I know that early treatment can make a difference in my quality of life and longevity.
Related to this topic, Mary Spremulli of Voice Aerobics wrote an article about the issues of Parkinson’s voice, speech and swallowing. You can access it at the link below. I highly recommend it.
Speech, Swallowing and Parkinson's and What You Might Be Surprised to Know by Mary Spremulli at: