positive senior man giving thumbs up for speech therapy

The Benefits of Speech Therapy for Seniors in Post Acute Care

It doesn’t matter how old you are, communicating clearly is important for every individual of all ages. This includes seniors whose speech can be affected by their age or illness. If your elderly loved one can’t sufficiently communicate what they need or what is wrong, their issues can escalate into an emergency. Speech Therapy is a very common form of post acute care for people, especially those who’ve suffered a stroke, brain injury, or cancer of the mouth and throat.

Strengthen Vocal Cords

As we age communication begins to get harder due to our vocal cords becoming less elastic and our larynx muscles starting to weaken. Speech therapy won’t help the elasticity of the vocal cords, but specialized exercises, such as Melodic Intonation therapy, visual speech perception therapy, and constraint-induced language therapy, will help strengthen and improve the quality of speech.

Improve the Ability to Swallow

Aging will also do a number on our ability to swallow foods, which increases the likelihood of choking on food. Post acute speech therapy will have a positive effect on our swallowing reflex by strengthening our vocal cord muscles, jaw muscles, and larynx.

Treatment for Stroke-Related Disorders

Speech therapy is usually recommended for patients who’ve suffered a stroke. This form of therapy aims to treat two onset disorders: aphasia and apraxia. Aphasia is when a person finds it difficult in finding the right words to express thoughts, whereas apraxia is the inability of a patient to properly move their lips to form words. To treat both disorders, speech therapy must be taken as soon as possible to have a better chance of a full recovery.

Memory Loss and Dementia Treatment

As some of us get older, we may suffer from some form of memory loss. While there isn’t much that can be about it, speech therapy can provide cognitive activity that will benefit our communication, attention, and problem-solving skills. Speech therapists can also assist the patient’s loved ones by teaching them how to improve their communication with the seniors struggling with memory loss.

Improve Quality of Life

We use communication to show our appreciation for our friends and loved ones, it’s used to describe any pain or illness we may be feeling, and it’s used to talk to people when we’re out in the public. Needless to say, it’s one of the most important aspects of our daily lives. That is why many seniors with untreated speech issues are prone to depression due to isolation and other medical problems. As they regain the ability to communicate through speech therapy, their safety, health, and quality of life will increase significantly.

Losing your ability to efficiently speak is never easy, especially when you get older. If you or a loved one are experiencing a communication problem due to age or illness, it is important to enroll into speech therapy as soon as possible. 

At South Coast Post Acute, our licensed speech therapists work in developing an individualized plan of care to suit every patient’s needs. Your ability to communicate is important and it should not be put aside any longer, don’t hesitate to contact us to learn how we can help.

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