Speech therapy services are a common requirement amongst the elderly these days. They help people cope with their declining speech prowess which is usually brought on either by age or other health issues. There are a couple of health issues, typically occurring in our advanced years. That alter the wiring of the brain, thus directly affecting our capability of speaking comprehensibly.
However, all hope is not lost, and you can regain your phonetic capabilities through speech therapy at home. But before we get into the benefits, let us understand speech disorders and their causes a little more.
Speech disorders usually make it difficult for people to create the right speech and sounds needed within the context of the conversation. This differs from language disorders where a person’s capabilities of learning and/or understanding words gets compromised.
Our brain is the hub of instructions, that fires orders to our organs every second of our lives to perform basic day to day duties appropriately. This includes comprehending words and their meanings. While formulating a response that is accurate within seconds and articulating it in a clear manner. This function of our brain is automatic and done subconsciously.
When someone speaks to us our brain sends signals to various structures of our body to sync together to construct an act of acknowledgement and give feedback. All of this is demonstrated by producing sounds using words and syllables to form a complete coherent sentence.
Types of Speech Disorders
This is a general term that points to a brain injury that compromises our motor skills, leading it to affect any part of our body. Verbal apraxia specifically highlights the defect in one’s motor skills which impairs their ability to produce verbal notes accurately. Even when they are able to assemble what they want to say efficiently.
This is another common speech disorder people often get best speech therapy services for. Dysarthria refers to the devastation that a person’s face, tongue, throat, chest, or lips experience due to muscle weakness developed by a damage to the brain. Muscle feebleness in any of these organs can make speaking difficult thus rupturing communication in its midst.
It is important to opt for speech therapy services when you are experiencing following symptoms:
- Speaking too rapidly or sluggishly
- Slurring speech
- Struggling to move mouth or tongue
- Soft or quiet speech
There are several injuries and conditions that can massively affect your vocal cords and ability to speak. They are usually:
- Nodules, polyps, or other similar developments within your vocal cords
- Throat cancer
- Ingesting certain drugs like antidepressants, amphetamines, and caffeine
Spasmodic dysphonia consists of unintentional movements of activity of your vocal cords when you attempt to speak. This condition often results from abnormal functioning of the brain, though the exact cause is unknown.
Benefits of speech therapy services
Speech therapy at home becomes a necessary exercise for seniors to undertake as they undergo exhausting health related events like dementia or stroke. Speech therapy services are a must for post-operation care so that the patients can experience an improvement in their quality of communication and life. According to research done by Institute of Aging, speech therapy helps patients focus on finding the correct words, along with responding to vocal and verbal pointers. The objective of therapy is to get the patients to functional as normally as possible, and as rapidly as possible. However, they might not be able to go back to how they were before, there would be a remarkable improvement, nonetheless.
Let’s dive further into benefits of getting speech therapy at home:
Stronger vocal cords
As with every other part of our body, the vocal cords tend to become less flexible as we grow older. This, in turn, incapacitates our larynx muscles making communication more strenuous. Though speech therapy services may not be able to make our vocal cords as good as new. They can make them stronger and consequently better the quality of conversations we have.
Rehabilitated strength to swallow
Weakening of the muscles brought on by age also tend to affect a person’s ability to swallow. This increases the possibility of one choking on a morsel of food. Speech therapy at home will strengthen the jaw muscles, vocal cords, and larynx which will better the person’s swallowing reflex and also generate a feeling of safety during meals.
Repairing stroke associated health issues
Speech therapy at home is great for patients recovering from a stroke. Typically, a stroke births two disorders: apraxia and aphasia. The latter is a refers to when the person finds it difficult to remember and choose the appropriate words to verbalize a thought. Around a quarter of survivors of a stroke episode develop aphasia and long-term speech therapy at home can help them improve their communication levels massively.
Helps work through dementia and loss of memory
Those suffering from issues like dementia and memory loss will find a lot of healing capacity within speech therapy services. Even if they don’t need any assistance in the oral realm. Speech therapy at home works to preserve brain activity that is linked with communication and also helps bring to light cognitive factors that affect speech patterns.
In fact, a speech therapist will also work with the loved ones of those suffering from memory loss. So that they can understand them better.
Improvement in quality of life
Considering how communication is such an integral part of our lives socially and practically. A lot of seniors with speech issues that go neglected become prone to other medical issues and isolation. Helping a senior bettering their speech capacity will increase their sense of safety and improve their health along with the quality of their life.
Speech related issues can be absolutely debilitating for those suffering from it, and also for those who love them. However, speech therapy services can make a massive difference. Eradicating the seniors’ need to be dependent on friends and family for help.
Picking the right speech therapy services
Before you decide to enroll yourself or your loved ones in speech therapy it is important to know what to look for. You will have to first figure out whether you want speech therapy at home or visit a clinic. Once you do that, you can hop online and look for a couple of markers that will help define the right speech therapy service for you.
The credentials of the speech therapist and the patient referrals of the therapist and the clinic they are affiliated with matter a lot. It is a good idea to look through the testimonials section of the clinic’s website and social media.
Other than that, one major factor you should look into is how the therapist approaches your issue in the first meeting. How in detail do they go, and how they explain everything to you would matter a lot. This is because you will be working with them long term and it is so important you find a therapist you feel comfortable.