What to Know About Speech Therapy for Seniors

Maintaining the ability to communicate effectively during one’s senior years is paramount to living a rich and fulfilling life. Speech therapy not only helps people maintain, regain or enhance their communication skills, but it also helps people with other areas related to cognition, memory and maintaining a healthy weight. Here’s what you need to know about how speech-language pathologists (also known as speech therapists) can help seniors.

What types of conditions require speech therapy?

Because many conditions can impact one’s ability to communicate or swallow effectively, speech-language pathology can help many different patients and residents in skilled nursing facilities. In skilled nursing facilities, speech-language pathologists work with a person’s care team to develop a personalized plan of care that addresses the individual’s various needs. Some of the conditions that can benefit from speech therapy include:

  • Stroke
  • Brain injury
  • Dysphagia
  • Aphasia
  • Dementia
  • Speech problems due to normal aging
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Trouble eating and drinking
  • Hearing loss

How does speech therapy help?

Speech therapy services help seniors achieve their highest possible level of functioning and improve the quality of their lives.  Here are four ways speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can help:

1. Improve Communication: It’s common for aging to affect speech decline. SLPs help participants re-learn how to speak through vocal exercises to reinforce effective communication and stimulate speaking, reading, comprehension, articulation and voice.

2. Cognition and Memory Management: SLPs can help patients improve cognitive ability, memory, attention and everyday problem-solving by engaging them in meaningful activities and regular routines.

3. Improve Swallowing: SLPs can help to reduce difficulties associated with chewing and swallowing by providing therapy that strengthens the lips, tongue and muscles in the mouth and throat.

4. Prevent Choking and Weight Loss: Poor nutrition results from trouble related to dysphagia in seniors. SLPs can help reduce the risk of choking and promote safer eating and drinking by implementing a modified diet with strategies for pacing and posture.

Trio Healthcare Can Help

At Trio Healthcare facilities, our expert rehabilitation therapy teams create a personalized care plan for each individual we serve. No matter your or your loved one’s goals, our physical, speech and occupational therapists will help them improve their function and quality of life. To learn more about our long-term and short-term care and comprehensive rehabilitation therapy service, find a location near you.