Effective communication is an integral part of one’s life at every stage. We start speaking at the age of three or four and gradually improve our speech during studies, social gatherings, and meeting with different people. As the age of a person increases towards its late 50’s the ability to speak clearly and well gets vague day by day. Muscles start to get weaker, and they don’t support much to communicate with others effectively. This weakness creates a sense of discomfort in older people, and they can’t be so confident in their daily life.
It is imperative to get an appointment for a speech therapist to improve this situation. This would not only enhance ones confidence in life, but one would also get a new life out of it. A speech therapist starts their treatment on different levels depending upon the need of your elderly loved one. Regular visits to a hospice for some days can quickly determine the level of therapy they need. This should not be considered with the factors like depression or medication but deal with it in a usual way. Therefore, older people can come out of the isolation they have imposed in their lives because of this challenge.
Why someone needs speech therapy?
There can be many reasons for poor speaking and communication skills in elderly people, which include:
- Dementia or a stroke or paralysis
- Weakness of particular muscles which help to speak.
- Deficiencies in nutrition and hydration
- An accidental head injury
- Speaking disorders and their therapies
A speech therapist is also called SLP (Speech-Language Pathologist). They first help the patient to find what type of disorder they have.
A person may face difficulty finding words to talk about something. This problem, in general, is called “Aphasia.” People are said to see more than one word against some clues and graphical presentations in this disorder. This practice helps them to get out of this problem.
A person can also experience “Apraxia,” a disorder in which someone speaks words out of order. To treat this, SLP’s use the technique of repeating some sentences repeatedly, starting with a lower voice and gradually increasing when they find the right order of words.
Dysarthria is a disorder in which patients speak correctly, but the rate of speech is prolonged. It may be due to some muscle weakness. The therapist tries to solve this problem using some mouth muscle exercises, i.e., tongue and lips movement exercise, jaw exercise, and breathing in and out using specific patterns.
When can you seek the help of a Speech Pathologist?
Not every elderly person needs speech therapy, but we must know under which conditions an older person needs a speech therapist, and we should not ignore this. Here are some of the specific circumstances to rush over the SLP.
- When a person got a head injury, and you see a fluctuation in his speaking routine.
- Cancer patients who are dealing with the disease for so long that it has affected their communication abilities.
- Patients with dementia or had a recent stroke.