Speech and Memory: How Speech Therapists can Help with the Cognitive Effects of Dementia

As we age, Dementia can become a real threat and can affect anyone.  Dementia also affects everyone differently.  Some patients may have a larger prominence on memory loss or others may have trouble speaking.   Speech therapists otherwise known as speech language pathologists (SPLs) play a large role in both the diagnosis and treatment of Dementia.

Unexplained problems with speaking can mean the start of Dementia, so it is a good idea to consult a SPL if you or a loved one experiences this.  SPLs can play a central role in the screening, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of someone with Dementia managing the cognitive, communication, and swallowing problems that come with the disease.  The ultimate goal of this type of treatment is to help the patient regain everyday functionality.

With a focus on communicative aspects such as attention, memory, sequencing, and problem solving, SPLs use strategies to bring a sense of familiarity to the home that helps the patient preserve communication skills. Some strategies include written cues for around-the-house tasks, which assist in memory and familiarity of your environment; memory books, which allow the patient to recall personal information; and the training of family members to help better communicate with a person with Dementia which, in turn, helps them to communicate back.

Another symptom that can come alongside communication issues is difficulty swallowing. Of course, this can be worrisome as it limits the ability to eat certain foods and can negatively affect diet.  SPLs are trained to guide a patient through exercises that work muscles used in swallowing – things like adjusting posture to an upright position or working on repetition techniques for swallowing.  If swallowing problems persist, SPLs can recommend certain diets and foods that are easier to swallow.

Home Health allows the patient to remain safe, comfortable, and independent while remaining at home. At Celtic Home Health, our commitment to clinical excellence ensures you receive care from compassionate nurses and therapists with the most advanced and expert skills and training. To discover a plan of care coordination that fits your personal health needs, to ask more questions, or to discuss your specific situation with a nurse, call 1.888.923.5842 or 1.800.358.8227 for our Illinois office.

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