Aphasia is a common condition that impacts approximately one in 250 Americans, and many are senior citizens. This neurological disorder occurs when language centers in the brain are damaged and often follows a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or when a senior survives a stroke. Symptoms of aphasia vary from person to person, but they often include slurred speech, difficulty forming or finding words, struggles with reading and writing common words or phrases and a delayed ability to understand spoken words.
Living with Aphasia
Living with aphasia causes many struggles for seniors, and these struggles often result in feelings of frustration, anger or depression. Many seniors with aphasia feel as if they are without options, and they will sometimes become isolated, uncomfortable in social situations or discouraged when engaging in one on one conversation. Fortunately for these individuals, we have seen great improvements in the treatment of this condition, and many seniors note a marked improvement in their prognosis after participating in regular speech therapy.
How Speech Therapy Helps
Speech therapy is commonly prescribed for individuals with aphasia, and it can significantly improve their quality of life. Sessions are often regular to begin with, and they may even occur on a daily basis for several weeks or months. During sessions, speech therapists work with clients on a one on one basis to strengthen existing communication skills, re-train error prone areas of the brain, help seniors to compensate for lost communication abilities and educate caregivers on the most effective ways of communicating and specifics about aphasia.
The Advantages of Starting Therapy Early
Research suggests that speech therapy is most effective if it is initiated as soon as possible after aphasia is diagnosed, and many seniors will see the largest amount of improvement within the first six months of starting therapy. If therapy is started later however, there are still opportunities for learning, development of new communication skills and advancement of existing skills, so medical professionals can continue to turn to this intervention strategy regardless of when the symptoms of aphasia began.
Choosing a Speech Therapist
When deciding on a speech therapist, it is important to look for someone who understands the senior’s unique circumstances and the different types of aphasia. Speech and language therapy should always be conducted in an individualized manner, and the length of sessions should be dictated by the senior’s continued ability and desire to participate. If sessions are too short, progress may not be noted in a timely manner, and if they are too long, the senior can become exhausted or may even experience setbacks. In home speech therapy often provides an elevated degree of comfort and convenience for the senior making it easier to continue participating in sessions on a regular basis and as prescribed.
Caring for a loved one with aphasia can be a daunting task. At Salus Homecare, we understand the struggles you are facing and want to help. Our in home speech therapy programs support seniors in overcoming the obstacles present when aphasia is diagnosed, and they are customized to meet the unique needs of each of our clients. To learn more about our medically endorsed and nationally accredited in home speech therapy, call us to request your free, no obligation consultation.
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