An elderly woman is undergoing speech therapy with a nurse

What Can Speech Therapy Do for the Elderly?

Speech therapy is often a necessary task for seniors after undergoing debilitating events such as a stroke or dementia. No matter how old you are, communicating clearly is important for individuals of all ages. This includes seniors whose speech can be affected by their age or illness. Speech therapy is a very common form of post-acute care in assisting patients in achieving improved quality of life and communication.

If you or a loved one have gone through an injury or illness leading to difficulties in speech, then you may have heard the term Aphasia. Aphasia is a communication disorder in which patients have trouble finding the right word for their thoughts, or their speech is halting or unclear. According to the Institute on Aging, speech therapy works to help patients concentrate in order to find the right word, as well as respond to verbal and vocal cues. The goal of the therapy is to have the patient reach the maximum possible functionality, although this may not be the same level that they enjoyed beforehand. 

So What Does Speech Therapy Do for the Elderly? 

Speech therapy helps individuals express themselves and assists them with the struggle to speak through a stutter or other on-going situations. Working with a speech therapist will help individuals work through problems with speaking or swallowing. 

A few benefits of this therapy for elderly adults are:

  • Improvement of speech and voice clarity
  • Increasing comprehension and verbal expression
  • Improvement of chewing and swallowing
  • Maximizing cognitive language skills: memory, problem solving, and abstract reasoning

The Importance of Speech Therapy for Seniors

There are a number of situations where a senior could benefit from therapy. Speech therapy can help someone to recover from a stroke, or it may be beneficial in situations where you have noticed your loved one is having difficulties responding to or answering questions.

  • Speech therapy won’t help the elasticity of the vocal cords, but specialized exercises will help strengthen and improve the quality of speech
  • Post-acute speech therapy will have a positive effect strengthening vocal cord muscles, and in turn decreasing the likelihood of choking
  • Therapy is usually recommended for patients who’ve suffered a stroke and aims to treat aphasia and apraxia. To treat both disorders, speech therapy must be taken as soon as possible to have a better chance of a full recovery
  • Speech therapy can provide cognitive activity that will benefit patients communication, attention, and problem-solving skills
  • 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 therapy their safety, health, and quality of life will increase significantly

Speech Therapy at South Coast Post Acute 

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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