I am caring for my 91yr old father with dementia and he has been constantly spitting & trying to get thick mucus out from his throat. Been monitoring on daily basis, & I strongly believe hydration is one of the main factors for this situation. Seems obvious, we all know we need to be well hydrated. Believe me Most people (Not elderly) obviously know this, but still forget to keep well hydrated. Now imagine the elderly specially forgetful (Alzheimer's, dementia,...).
Like my 91yr old father, unless he is completely dehydrated he won't actually drink any water through out the day. If anything he'll get water to gargle & spit OUT mucus.
So for this reason I try to give him small amounts of water to drink through out the time I spend caring for him (making sure he drinks). We all have mucus, it's our bodily defense mechanism to keep our throats from drying by staying moist. If we are dehydrated, mucus can only get thicker. I don't think there's anything wrong with swallowing thick mucus, unless you have cold symptoms with yellow phlegm.
I noticed my father tries to spit out mostly at middle of night or in morning when he wakes up. (Apparently when we sleep then wake up in the morning, we loose up to around 1lb of water weight from breathing & through our skin, depending how much we sweat differs by person...).
-You should try weighing yourself before sleep & as soon as you wake (you actually loose some weight, & it's water weight, & making sure you didn't drink eat anything....)
Just this simple habit of hydration would solve this common issue. Now the problem is practicing this habit. Medication is not the answer, only causes unneeded side effects....
knowing is only half the battle...need to follow through...
I read your post, My mom was suffering from Mucus Problem too, Right now she stays in a residential care home, as i am not able to take care of her 24/7 due to other commitments.Excess and thick mucus (sputum, secretions, phlegm) in your lungs can lead to increased levels of shortness of breath (breathlessness) and higher chances of developing a disease worsening lung infection.
One of the Registered Nurse of Orchard House Care Home in Bexhill suggested some tips to reducing Mucus.So I am sharing with you.Hope this Help you.
Sit down in a chair or on the edge of your bed with your feet firmly planted on the ground; lean forward slightly.Cross your arms over your abdomen, then use diaphragmatic breathing to take a slow deep breath through your nose and hold it for 2-3 seconds.Press your arms up against your stomach and use the strength of your stomach (abdomen) muscles to push out the air, then deep cough 2-3 times.Make sure to exhale using pursed lips. Repeat until mucus is cleared from your airways.
Give her Mucus Clearing Devices.
Hope this help ypu