Being able to communicate clearly and display your language skills is highly important for people of all ages, especially for the elderly. When seniors get to a point in their lives where they are no longer capable of articulating their needs, situations can become a little more challenging than they used to be.
Speech therapy for the elderly is a process that addresses problems with speaking and swallowing. This can be vital for the senior’s overall health and ability to communicate. If you’re a caregiver for your elderly loved one or you provide hospice care at home, it’s good to know the importance of speech therapy to the elderly. Let’s discuss how they can benefit from this type of therapy, especially for improving their quality of life.
Benefits of Speech Therapy for Elderly Patients
There are a number of situations where a senior could benefit from speech therapy. Speech therapy can help someone to recover from a stroke. It can also be beneficial in situations where you have noticed your loved one is having difficulties responding to or answering questions. Here are some of the situations where speech therapy can be of great help to seniors.
Strengthening Weakened Vocal Cords
As we age, vocal cords tend to become a lot less elastic, and the larynx muscles can become weakened. Patients may experience difficulty in speaking or communicating in a normal fashion. This is where speech therapy can help seniors greatly. They can actually re-learn how to speak and will also provide vocal exercises to facilitate this further.
Helping Those with Swallowing Problems
Yes, speech and swallowing are somehow connected, and both can actually diminish over time. Speech therapy helps improve chewing and swallowing, similar to how those vocal exercises help your loved one’s vocal cords. Those swallowing problems can often lead to choking, which could be deadly to the elderly. You can prevent that from happening through the speech therapy exercises we mentioned.
Assisting Those Who Have Experienced a Stroke
Patients who suffered a stroke are often given speech therapy because they are known to lose their ability to communicate properly after experiencing a stroke. This is due to a condition called Aphasia, which is a communication disorder that affects a person’s ability to communicate. This is quite a common language impairment that stroke survivors often go through. In fact, one in four stroke survivors will experience aphasia following a stroke. While it’s very much possible to recover and re-train their body and mind to communicate normally again, it’s crucial to begin treatment right away.
Helping Patients with Dementia
Similar to stroke, patients who are suffering from dementia also experience symptoms associated with aphasia. As the disease progresses, aphasia also worsens. Speech therapy works by helping preserve brain functions that are associated with communication. In cases of dementia, speech therapy can help by addressing the cognitive aspects of communication, including attention, memory, and problem-solving.
People often think of speech therapy as something that’s for children who stutter or have difficulty speaking. In reality, speech therapy can help individuals learn and relearn language and communication skills at any point in their lives. This is especially helpful for older adults who seem to have difficulty communicating due to old age or disease. Golden Rule Hospice is a locally owned and operated facility providing hospice care to Alpharetta, GA clients as well as the Atlanta metropolitan area. We believe it is essential to recognize and understand the unique wishes and needs of each patient. Contact us today at (470) 395-6567 to set up your free hospice care consultation.