Communication is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for seniors who need to be able to communicate when something is wrong. Friends Village at Woodstown in Woodstown, New Jersey, is a continuing care retirement community that offers rehabilitation services, including physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Our primary goal is to promote the health and well-being of the seniors in our community, which includes ensuring those having difficulty speaking get the help they need to regain effective communication skills.
When Speech Therapy May Be Necessary
You should never ignore speech issues when your loved one is having difficulties communicating. If it’s hard for them to respond to questions and make requests, a comprehensive speech therapy evaluation should be performed. An experienced speech-language pathologist can evaluate whether the problem is language-based and determine the best way to address it. Speech issues can arise for several reasons.
- The natural aging process may require seniors to relearn how to speak with vocal exercises that help them regain effective communication.
- A stroke may bring on a language impairment called aphasia, which is a communication disorder that impairs your loved one’s ability to comprehend and use language.
- Deficits in memory and concentration due to dementia may cause them to lose communication skills.
- Cancer of the head, neck, or throat that requires chemotherapy or head injuries can also impact how well a senior can communicate.
The goal of speech therapy is to increase functional communication and cognitive skills and may include retraining the muscles, use of communication devices, and compensating strategies. Speech therapy can also help seniors who have difficulty swallowing due to dysphagia. Because speech therapy is beneficial in so many ways, some seniors pursue therapy even when they only have mild concerns.
Speech Therapy After A Stroke
When a senior suffers from aphasia following a stroke, it impairs their ability to use and comprehend language properly. The intensity of the stroke impacts the severity of the language issue, but the sooner they begin speech therapy, the greater their chance of recovery. Waiting several months before pursuing therapy makes it less likely they’ll completely recover. Some common therapy methods used after a stroke include:
- Exercises to retrain muscles, prevent muscle deterioration and strengthen weakened muscles
- Singing, which allows them to use melodic and rhythmic components for words they can’t speak
- Associating words with pictures for cognitive retraining, called visual speech perception therapy
- Creating scenarios using only spoken words without visual cues, called constraint-induced therapy
Support groups with their peers can also be an effective part of speech therapy because it allows your loved one to share successes and strategies with others having similar issues with communication.
Speech Therapy For Dementia Patients
Dementia and memory disorders typically affect cognitive-communication, which makes it hard for seniors to process and remember information. Reasoning and problem-solving skills may also be impaired, so it’s especially important to work with a speech pathologist during the early stages of dementia. Minimizing memory conditions by keeping language skills sharp gives your loved one better control over the reasoning skills and speech. Many of the same types of therapies used following a stroke may also be used to help counter dementia-related communication issues.
Speech Therapy Following Head, Neck Or Throat Issues
Trauma to the head or surgery or chemotherapy due to cancer of the throat, neck, or head can also result in a lack of language and communication skills. The specific circumstances and severity of the condition impact what types of therapy methods might be utilized. Many post-stroke therapy methods may be employed as well as electric stimulation of the throat muscles and exercises to help your loved one maintain muscle function while regaining their language skills. We may also recommend that your loved one work with other specialists, including occupational and physical therapists and an audiologist, who may also be able to assist with various language issues.
Come Home To Friends Village
Located in the heart of southern New Jersey and situated on 30 well-manicured acres, Friends Village strives to give everyone in the community a healthy, more independent lifestyle throughout retirement years. We offer a diverse array of amenities to accommodate a variety of resident needs and interests as well as comprehensive services to promote independence. Contact us at 856-769-1500 for more information about our independent senior living options or request a tour today.