Speech therapy is often recommended to help seniors who have had a stroke and need to relearn how to form words. It’s also recommended for seniors in general as they get older to help keep their throat muscles and vocal chords strong so that they can continue to be heard and communicate. It also does more for seniors than just help them to communicate. Speech therapy, and the muscles that are affected by it, can help seniors with dysphagia.
Dysphagia is a condition that causes seniors to be unable to swallow safely. It’s progressive, and eventually it can make it unsafe for seniors to eat or drink because they choke or aspirate on liquids or solids that they can’t swallow. Dysphagia can cause malnutrition, dehydration, and much more serious medical problems in seniors. But seniors who go through speech therapy may able to avoid developing dysphagia, because speech therapy keeps the throat muscles strong so they continue to work well as seniors get older.
Dysphagia can be caused by many things including:
- Ill fitting dentures
- Bad oral health
Speech therapy for seniors is designed to help improve a senior’s ability to speak but it can significantly lower their chances of developing dysphagia as well. It is also offered as an in home service so that seniors who have mobility challenges or other challenges don’t have to go to a speech therapist’s office to get the therapy they need.
Signs Your Senor Parent Needs Speech Therapy
Speech therapy is a good idea for any senior because of the many benefit it has. If you notice any of these symptoms in your senior parent you should talk to them about speech therapy at home or schedule an initial appointment with a speech therapist:
- Soft voice
- Trouble speaking up
- Trouble forming words
- Choking on water or liquids
- Not eating as much
- Preferring soft runny foods that aren’t hard to swallow
- Coughing when they try to talk
Speech Therapy at Home
If your senior loved one had a stroke and is having difficulty regaining their ability to speak because of paralysis or other side effects, consulting with speech therapy at home is a great way for your senior parent to have the privacy they need to feel comfortable practicing words.
It’s common for seniors recovering from a stroke to be self-conscious about their inability to speak or say certain words. So having a speech therapist come to the house to help them will make your senior parent more comfortable and make the therapy easier for them.
Insurance usually covers the cost of speech therapy, so if you think this is something that could benefit your senior parent, or if you are noticing the warning signs of dysphagia, now is the time to get them started on speech therapy.