senior woman suffering needs speech therapy

Signs You or Your Loved One May Need Speech Therapy

Many contributing factors lead older adults to seek speech therapy. However, before reaping the benefits of this specialized medical practice, you need to know what indicators reveal the need for speech therapy. 

By equipping yourself with proper knowledge and understanding, you or your loved one stands the greatest chance of preventing advanced decline when speech therapy is neglected. 

Signs Speech Therapy May Be Necessary for You or a Loved One 

The following signs are indicators speech therapy may be necessary in your life or your loved one’s life. If you notice a pattern of repetitive behavior according to the signs listed, be sure to contact your physician or speech therapist for further guidance. 

Lack of response in conversation or to direct questions

You might wonder if the lack of response is due to hearing loss or foggy-headed distraction. But if you know these factors are not at play, the unresponsiveness may be a self-conscious reaction due to a decreased ability to clearly speak a response. Unfortunately, feelings of embarrassment may arise when losing the ability to speak and form responses. Remain sensitive to the situation and open to the benefits of speech therapy and other methods to assist the problem. 

A reliance on non-verbal cues and communication

Another indicator of speech-related difficulties is when a person is noticeably relying on the non-verbal cues and communication mannerisms of others. You may begin to notice in conversation, the loved one is intently looking and following the non-verbal communication of hand motions, facial expressions, body movements, and gestures. 

Difficulty eating or swallowing

Troubles eating could be due to weak muscles within the larynx. Speech therapy exercises are meant to strengthen the muscles and regain a person’s ability to eat and swallow properly. 

Voice sounds dry and hoarse

When the vocal cords are not strong and distinct, you may hear someone’s voice appear raspy and hoarse. It is similar to what people sound like when they have a common cold. Should the vocal cords or larynx be weak, speech therapy can help before the problem persists. 

Cognitive decline

As ‌muscular structure and strength decline with age, speech difficulties are more common. Dementia and other cognitive impairments have a direct impact on speech capabilities. Forgetfulness and struggling to find the right words in a conversation may indicate neurological impairment and the need for speech therapy. 

What factors contribute to needing speech therapy?

  • Strokes
  • Brain Injuries
  • Dementia
  • Neurological Disorders

How Can Speech Therapy for Seniors Help?

Speech therapy is commonly recommended for its many benefits. Here’s a short overview of what you or your loved one can expect.

Improves weak and unstable vocal cords

Aging often leads to less elastic vocal cords, weakening your larynx and overall ability to speak normally. However, targeted speech therapy exercises address these issues to produce significant improvement.

Assists with swallowing problems

Speech therapy helps reduce the risk of choking when a person is experiencing problems swallowing food properly.

Relieves symptoms of dementia

Regular speech therapy can help improve cognitive function and prevent further decline as a result of dementia.

Prevents nutritional deficiency and unhealthy weight loss

By improving ‌swallowing function, speech therapy prevents individuals from lacking in proper nutrition and unhealthy weight loss. 

South Coast Post Acute is Southern California’s Premier post-acute Partner

Better health and healing are possible with the right professional oversight. At South Coast Post Acute, we deliver specialized skilled nursing services to restore health, regain autonomy and reduce the occurrences of rehospitalization. 

South Coast Post Acute is here for you, at any age. Our innovative care, experienced staff, and welcoming accommodations combine to bring you the high level of care you’ve come to expect from Southern California’s leading post-acute provider. 

Contact us today for more information on how we can help on your journey back to restored health.

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