Benefits of Speech Therapy for Seniors

November 25, 2020By: VocoVision
Speech therapy for seniors

Speech therapy is often thought to be mainly used for young children developing their communication abilities. However, students and children are not the only ones that can greatly benefit from speech therapy. In this blog, we dive into why speech intervention for seniors is extremely important and effective in some instances.

Speech Therapy for Seniors

As we get older, our bodies change. Our speaking abilities, which may be affected by personal struggle, illness, or the aging process in general, can also be affected. For older adults to find chewing and swallowing exhausting or find themselves in coughing fits before, during, or after swallowing, or find the quality of their voices changed, speech therapy can help.

Older adults who notice issues with communication, language, and swallowing, should take action as soon as possible. Speech therapy can be beneficial at any age, especially as older adults need to communicate with family, friends, and medical professionals.

When Should Elderly Patients Consider Speech Therapy?

Patients can benefit from proactive therapy, training, and education. Speech therapy is a necessary part of treatment when it comes to conditions such as brain injury, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease. Some underlying conditions may also cause issues with speech.

Many disorders can affect swallowing and speech such as apraxia, dysphagia, and orofacial maillot functional disorders. Patients suffering from these disorders experience issues with corrugated muscular movements, which affect their communication skills by increasing the difficulty in articulating words and swallowing.

Working with a speech therapist can help address these issues while also keeping patients focused on tasks, problem-solving, reasoning, and memory. For older adults who have trouble getting to and from doctor’s appointments, telespeech can be a wonderful tool. Telespeech allows the speech-language pathologist to meet virtually with the patient so the patient does not have to leave his or her home in order to receive therapy.

Speech Therapy Activities for the Elderly

The type of speech therapy used for each patient will vary based on his or her condition and particular concerns. The first step in working with the patient is to conduct a basic evaluation to determine what level the patient is functioning at, what their goals are, and how speech therapy can help. In telespeech, it is often helpful if another family member is nearby to assist with the session. The family member can help the patient get situated with the technology required for the telespeech session, as well as serve as the communicative liaison between the patient and therapist.

Seniors can participate in many of the same therapy activities as children do, they are just presented in different ways. For example, helping seniors associate words with pictures is an effective way to improve their visual speech perception. Art therapy can be an effective activity for a variety of different communication issues with elderly patients. Group therapy is another method that works both for children and adults.

Monitoring Senior Speech Therapy Progress

After the initial evaluation, the speech therapist will come up with the appropriate course of action. At the end of treatment, there will likely be another evaluation to determine how much progress has been made, and if further therapy is needed. During treatment, it is common for a speech therapist to keep ongoing records with a variety of different charts and resources. This allows them to track and monitor progress during treatment. This method works for both seniors and children.

Older patients need to be aware of any changes occurring in the body, as there are always ways to improve your quality of life. Even if changes are so small you’re not particularly aware of them, there are treatment methods to bring them as far as possible before engaging in staged rehabilitation.

Speech therapy is a great tool for anyone who struggles with speech and communication disorders. Whether speech intervention is for a child or senior, many of the strategies, activities, and monitoring methods are similar. If you are a speech therapist looking for your next assignment then click the button below to search hundred of virtual SLP jobs from across the country. 


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