Ask Manda: Is Speech Therapy Necessary for Your Elderly Loved One?

Speech therapy can look different at all stages of life, but how do you know if your elderly loved ones require it? Many healthcare facilities offer different kinds of rehabilitation services for residents. Speech therapy, for example, can soften up the barriers that affect pronunciation, improving speech quality. Additionally, speech therapy can strengthen the muscles used in speech and improve comfort in actions such as swallowing.

Our team at Pomeroy Living suggests speech therapy for seniors when patients are recovering from dementia, stroke, or recent head injury. Especially when patients can’t respond well to questions or have trouble asking for drinks, items, or food.

If your loved one can’t communicate as well as they used to, consider how this form of therapy can benefit them in outpatient rehabilitation.

What is speech rehabilitation for seniors?

As people get older, their auditory systems structurally and neurologically degenerate. Many seniors have trouble understanding speech even though they can hear the sounds.

According to research, cognitive, central-auditory, and peripheral systems are major factors that can affect the understanding of speech. Geriatric speech therapy improves cognitive skills. It also helps with functional communication. It can teach patients safe feeding and swallowing techniques.

Speech rehabilitation services for the elderly can include:

  • compensatory strategies
  • muscle retraining
  • communication devices

In outpatient rehabilitation, patients can work on their voice clarity. Including verbal expression and comprehension. This is very important for those who want to improve their quality of life.

Benefits of speech rehabilitation services for the elderly

At our Pomeroy Skilled Rehabilitation Communities, many of our patients live with the effects of neurological disorders and injuries. But, sometimes speech problems can happen because of the natural aging process. Here are the benefits of speech therapy that we have noticed in our residents.

Better swallowing reflex

The muscles for swallowing can weaken with age. This increases the odds of choking. Speech therapy rehabilitation services for the elderly strengthen the jaw muscles, larynx, and vocal cords. So, it can improve comfort and safety when eating.

Improved quality of speech

Speech therapy takes on a patient-centered approach. It helps seniors find the right words, and respond properly to vocal and verbal cues.

Individual treatment plan

Speech therapy is here to support the brain’s effort for creating new ways to communicate. A speech therapist tailors the therapy to the patient’s individual needs. This can include written or spoken speech therapy exercises for the elderly.

In some patients, it might be possible to restore speaking ability. But, the results will vary based on the health problem. If you are looking for speech therapy for seniors near you, our experts at Pomeroy Living can help. We can offer the best compensatory techniques and methods that can work for your loved one.

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Manda Ayoub

Manda is a nurse and a licensed nursing home Administrator in the state of Michigan. She has worked through all aspects of the post-acute healthcare industry, holding various positions including Infection Control Nurse, In-service Director, Quality Assurance Director, Risk Manager and a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator.