What Is Speech Therapy and Why Is It So Important for Seniors?

speech therapy
Being able to communicate properly is vital for anyone. This is especially true for seniors who may already have trouble finding the right words to use and don’t feel quite themselves anymore. Anyone dealing with medical concerns needs to be able to describe their pain and medications in an effective manner. If an urgent situation arises, you’ll only receive proper medical care if you can explain what the problem is. This is why speech therapy is essential. It can help with these issues, along with a variety of other speech and language concerns. We understand speech therapy can be a new concept to a lot of people, so we’ve got the answers to some common questions.

What Is Speech Therapy?

A simple definition of speech therapy is to assist someone with speech or language issues and improve their current communication skills or incorporate new communication skills.

Who May Need Speech Therapy?

Speech issues can be a lifelong problem which may get worse as people age. A stroke, dementia, head or neck injury, and throat problems can also bring about these issues. In other words, as we said above, speech therapy is for everyone. But for the senior population who may be vulnerable to health and injury issues, this is especially important.
Keeping up communication skills can actually impact memory in a positive way. If someone is losing their ability to speak or communicate due to dementia or any other condition, they may become reclusive and start shunning their normal activities. Studies show that seniors who keep active and involved in activities keep their memory sharper for longer. In other words, it’s imperative that you do everything possible to help with speech and memory.

What Kind of Issues Can Happen?

After an injury, stroke, or even as people age, speech can become garbled or non-existent. From time to time, stuttering can start or worsen, as can becoming incapable of pronouncing certain sounds. Even proper chewing and being able to swallow properly can become problematic. Dealing with these issues as early as possible is best.

What Happens During Speech Therapy?

A qualified speech therapist or speech pathologist performs evaluations on speech as well as mouth, jaw and throat functions. They then put together a treatment plan specific to your needs. These treatments can range from doing simple mouth exercises and repeating words and phrases to muscle reconditioning exercises or learning and using communication devices. A speech therapist can also teach safe swallowing methods and suggest possible diet changes.

How Can I Get Speech Therapy for Myself or a Loved One?

Consulting with your doctor is a great first step, and many community organizations and health units do assessments, too. They can point you in the right direction. If you currently live in or are considering a move to a retirement community, they may offer these services. At Trillium Communities, you’ll be pleased to hear that speech therapy is one of the many services we offer. We also proudly provide meals, housekeeping, and activities.
We take your care, and the care of your loved ones, very seriously. If you’re thinking it’s time for some extra help, please contact us today for more information and a no-obligation tour of one or more of our communities.