Speech Therapy for Seniors in O’Fallon
As individuals age, the need to communicate wants, wishes, feelings, and pain is critical. If a senior is unable to vocally express themselves, an everyday situation can quickly become an emergency. At Abbey Senior Health in O’Fallon, MO, residents that require assistance with communicating can participate in a personalized speech therapy program. Whether they have suffered brain damage or wish to strengthen their vocal cords, senior speech therapy can be greatly beneficial. Contact us today to get started.
Speech Therapy for Seniors in O’Fallon
As individuals age, the need to communicate wants, wishes, feelings, and pain is critical. If a senior is unable to vocally express themselves, an everyday situation can quickly become an emergency. At Abbey Senior Health in O’Fallon, MO, residents that require assistance with communicating can participate in a personalized speech therapy program. Whether they have suffered brain damage or wish to strengthen their vocal cords, speech therapy can be greatly beneficial. Contact us today to get started.
What is Senior Speech Therapy?
Speech therapy is the practice of assisting individuals who have difficulty speaking or swallowing through the use of various exercises and activities. The goal of speech therapy for seniors is to increase communication skills and cognitive abilities, as well as teach safe swallowing techniques for comfortable eating. Although complete restoration of speech is possible, in many situations, a speech therapist will work with a senior and their family to create other methods of communicating.
How Can Speech Therapy Help Seniors?
There are various ways speech therapy can help elderly residents. One of the most crucial moments for therapy treatment is immediately following brain damage. For example, certain communication disorders can arise as a result of a stroke, such as aphasia and apraxia.
- Aphasia is a disorder in which a person has difficulty finding the correct words to express their thoughts, or their speech is unclear. For instance, one might say “leg” when they truly mean “arm.” Long-term speech therapy can help those suffering from aphasia with choosing the correct words and properly identifying vocal cues.
- Apraxia is a condition whereby an individual is unable to move their lips properly to form coherent words. Through speech therapy, patients practice repeating sounds that comprise words in order to improve the likelihood of being understood.
Additionally, a speech pathologist can help seniors strengthen their ability to swallow. Those with difficulty swallowing suffer from a disorder called dysphagia. As individuals age, the vocal cords lose some of their elasticity, which weakens the larynx muscles and creates difficulty. A reduction in a senior’s ability to swallow greatly increases their chance of choking. The proven strengthening effect of speech therapy on the vocal cords, jaw muscles, and larynx can improve the swallowing reflex, and thus lead to greater safety while eating.
If a senior’s speaking abilities are normal but they suffer from memory loss, whether it be dementia, Alzheimer’s, or from aging, speech therapy can also provide significant benefits. Engaging in speech therapy exercises preserves their function to communicate effectively and addresses cognitive aspects, such as attention and problem solving. It allows your loved one to continue vocalizing their thoughts, needs, and feelings, even as their memory fades.
Speech Therapy Exercises
At Abbey Senior Health, our speech therapy programs start with an initial assessment of each resident’s abilities. In the beginning stage, the patient’s needs and goals are taken into consideration when determining how speech therapy can help. The activities and exercises differ according to each person’s skill set, and are thus highly individualized. Common speech therapy exercises include:
- Melodic intonation therapy: When a resident sings the words they are unable to speak
- Visual speech perception therapy: The practice of associating words with pictures
- Constraint-induced language therapy: Creating a scenario by only using spoken words – no visual cues, like body language, are allowed
- Group therapy: Those that have similar speech abilities can greatly benefit from group-based activities, such as memory cards and games
- Art therapy: Encouraging residents to create art and describe the colors presented, medium chosen, and more
- Effortful swallowing: As the name suggests, the goal of effortful swallowing is to make a conscious effort to utilize and strengthen all the muscles involved in the action
Benefits of Speech Therapy for Seniors
In addition to the overall benefits of improved speaking and swallowing ability, speech therapy can also provide:
- Improved quality of life
- Increased comprehension and verbal expression
- Improved voice clarity
- Maximized cognitive language skills, like problem solving, memory, and abstract thinking
- Strengthened vocal cords
- Treatment of stroke-related disorders and memory loss
- And much more
Help Your Loved One Improve Their Speech Today
At Abbey Senior Health in O’Fallon, MO, we take pride in our variety of individualized senior care options for each resident. Whether your loved one resides in assisted living or independent living, we offer specialty services that suit their needs. Speaking is the cornerstone of human connection, and our senior speech therapy programs are aimed at not only improving each resident’s ability to speak and swallow but also their quality of life. Contact us today to learn more and get started!