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Professor develops swallowing exercise program for seniors

Taeok Park, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) Department, has developed a swallowing exercise program for healthy older people.

The current training program is home-based and involves completing eight weeks of self-led swallowing exercises. This program investigates the effects of swallowing exercise on swallowing muscle strength and swallowing quality of life. The goal of the exercise program is to prevent swallowing disorders.  This program is supported by a Pre-Tenure Faculty Initiative Grant from the College of Art and Sciences at Illinois State University.

Taeok Park (third from right) with students.

Assistant Professor Taeok Park (third from left) has developed a swallowing exercise program for healthy older people.

To join the swallowing exercise program, participants should be at least 60 years old with no history of swallowing impairments. Swallowing evaluation sessions take placed at the beginning, middle (four weeks), and end (eight weeks) of the program.

CSD undergraduate and graduate students are involved in training and weekly follow-up with participants. This research project has provided students with an opportunity to communicate with older people in the local community as well as promote awareness of the importance of swallowing.

Park hopes her research can help older people remain healthy and enjoy delicious food with family and friends.