Many of our residents at USA Healthcare live with the effects of strokes, brain injuries, dementia, or other neurological disorders. With these conditions, it’s common to lose the ability to speak, and there may also be difficulties understanding spoken and written material. Speech can also be affected by the natural aging process.
With evaluation, planning, and proper treatment, our speech-language therapists can help seniors improve their communication skills.
Speech therapy is a rehabilitation process to address problems with speaking and swallowing. As we grow older, our vocal cords often become less elastic, and our larynx muscles may weaken. These problems can make it difficult to talk and swallow. While this is part of the natural aging process, speaking difficulties may also result from other health conditions.
Speech therapy can help seniors re-learn how to speak, using vocal exercises to help them once again communicate effectively. Therapy can stimulate and improve speaking, reading, writing, comprehension, and cognitive ability.
Improvement in these areas is vital for the overall health of seniors, as they must be able to communicate properly with their doctors, nurses, and loved ones. We want them to be able to tell us about any pain, discomfort, or other simple issues they may be experiencing.
We see many situations in which our senior residents can benefit from speech therapy. Here are a few circumstances where speech therapy may be recommended.
Vocal cords tend to become less elastic as we age, and larynx muscles can become weakened. This process can make it difficult to speak or communicate in a normal fashion. To help seniors re-learn how to speak as normally as possible, we have many methods and exercises that will help.
It’s not uncommon for seniors to develop difficulties with chewing and swallowing, and speech therapy can improve this as well. This therapy can also help reduce the risk of choking.
It can be beneficial for those who are suffering from dementia to undergo speech therapy. The practice may help preserve brain function associated with communication. It may also help address the cognitive aspects of communication, such as attention, memory, and problem-solving.
Aphasia is a communication disorder that affects a person’s ability to communicate and is a common language impairment after a stroke. A stroke event may damage the part of the brain that controls speech function, which can have different effects depending on the exact location of the damage. Speech therapy is often recommended immediately following a stroke. It is possible to recover speech after a stroke, but it’s crucial to begin treatment right away to increase the chances of recovery.
Dysarthria is the medical term for lack of coordination in the muscles that produce speech. These difficulties arise from sensorimotor problems, such as weakness, paralysis, or a change in muscle tone. This condition causes issues with communication, such as struggling to make sounds or unintentionally substituting one word for another. The pitch and speed of speech are also often impacted. Speech therapy is a non-invasive means of addressing dysarthria without surgical intervention.
Because structural changes in musculature may not be evident from the outside, seniors may have trouble swallowing without realizing it. This issue can result in extreme weight loss and poor nutrition if the food they are eating isn’t reaching their stomach. Speech therapists may suggest strategies for pacing and posture as a first-line intervention. Speech therapy can also help seniors maintain their nutrition without more invasive medical interventions.
Speech therapy can have many benefits for senior adults and their quality of life. Our speech therapists at USA Healthcare will create a treatment plan that is tailored to each resident to help achieve the highest level of functioning possible.
At USA Healthcare, we look forward to getting to know you and your family and helping you get the answers you need when it comes to the best care options for your loved ones.
Contact us at USA Healthcare to discuss our long-term and short-term care facilities and options. We’re here for you!