Elderly Degenerative Disorders and Speech Therapy
Sometimes, as a person ages, they can be afflicted by various disorders that bring hardships upon them and a decrease in their quality of life and mental well-being, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. While often their onset is gradual, they are devastating not only to the sufferer but to their family and loved ones. One of the many things affected by these is a person’s ability to communicate clearly, and often times they also exhibit difficulties swallowing. At that point, it becomes necessary for a speech pathologist to assist in their rehabilitation through the use of speech therapy, to bring their life back under their own control.
Not only is communication integral to convey what a person may want, or need, but basic human communication is imperative to a positive quality of life. It is in our nature to speak with each other and that ability can be taken away when advanced age is coupled with a degenerative disorder.
Through the use of speech and language therapy, it is possible for elderly sufferers of disorders that impede communication to attain a level of communication and speech that can be used to convey their desires and the simple pleasure of chatting with loved ones. With the aid of a speech therapist, a patient can retrain themselves to follow through with difficult tasks they were once able to perform with ease.
Typically, speech pathology is also used to assist in overcoming dysphagia brought on by Alzheimer’s or dementia. Dysphagia is a disorder that inhibits a person’s ability to swallow normally, which impacts much more than quality of life and ability to communicate. It can become life threatening if not properly treated, causing choking or a direct inability to eat. Through the use of various speech therapies and procedures, though, rehabilitation can be performed to assist in the retraining of a person’s ability to swallow normally and regain control of that process.
Communication and swallowing, two things so incredibly basic they are almost universally taken for granted, are intrinsically tied to having a basic and functional life and can be taken away by advanced age and the hardships that can come with it. Through speech and language therapy those hardships can be faced, and they can be overcome so that elderly sufferers of disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s can be handled with dignity and a positive quality of life restored.