When you have a hard time communicating with the people around you, it’s not easy to get the things you want and need. For home health care patients, struggling to tell a caregiver when they’re in pain or if they need help going to the bathroom, for example, can lead to uncomfortable or embarrassing situations.
Good communication helps home health care patients stay healthy and independent. And speech therapy plays an essential role in helping a person regain their voice and maintain a good quality of life.
Who may benefit from speech therapy?
Many different health conditions can cause a person to struggle with their speech and language or experience related issues like trouble swallowing. Over time, these problems may cause them to feel cut off from others or overly reliant on family members. It can also affect their overall health.
Speech therapy can help people with:
People with aphasia have trouble speaking and understanding what people are saying. This happens when the language areas of a person’s brain are damaged, such as after a stroke. Speech therapy can help a person re-learn important language skills and practice speaking or find other ways to communicate. Therapists may also help family members learn how to communicate with the person in new ways.
A variety of communication and thinking challenges can progress over time for people with dementia. Speech therapy can help a person maintain coordination and other skills that allow them to speak and problem-solve so they can stay as independent as possible. Therapists may also help people with dementia learn other ways to communicate, such as through writing, body language, or electronic aids.
Muscle weakness, or difficulty controlling their muscles, from brain damage or trauma, can make it hard for people with dysarthria to speak clearly. Their words may be slurred, mumbled, or otherwise hard to understand. Speech therapy may focus on exercises to help the person strengthen their mouth muscles, breathe more effectively, and form words more distinctly.
Dysphagia (trouble swallowing)
Many kinds of health conditions and injuries can make it hard for people to swallow food and drinks. Speech therapy can help people develop the muscles they need to chew and swallow and learn how to hold their body while eating and drinking. Therapists can also help people with dysphagia work on other strategies to make sure they continue to get the nutrition they need.
Dysphonia and aphonia
People with these conditions may speak with a hoarse or whispered voice or may lose their voice entirely. These issues can happen for many reasons. Speech therapy can include exercises to help improve the quality of the person’s voice and breathing and strategies to manage their specific situation and needs.
How can speech therapy support your loved one?
Speech-language pathologists (also known as speech therapists or SLPs) are professionals trained to diagnose and treat the many kinds of speech, language, and swallowing issues. They will meet with your loved one to learn more about what’s causing their trouble as well as their goals for the future.
The therapist will work on specific activities to help your loved one get stronger in the areas where they are struggling and progress toward their goals. For example, speech therapists often help their patients:
- Express their wants and needs.
- Organize their ideas to communicate more effectively.
- Speak words more clearly.
- Understand and improve everyday conversations.
Finding a compassionate team
Helping someone regain their voice is a special process. It’s important to look for a speech therapist who will be sensitive to your loved one’s feelings during this time and offer the emotional support they need and deserve.
The therapist can also teach family members to how to understand and cope with speech changes. A good team will also include other care professionals, such as your loved one’s home health aide or skilled nurse, working together with the speech therapist to ensure the best possible care all around.
Over time, speech therapy can help someone maintain a healthy lifestyle, feel confident in their daily tasks, and support good relationships with their family and friends. Click the button below to request care and learn more about how Traditions Health speech therapists can help you.
- Acute Kidney Injury
- Advance Directive
- Alzheimer’s and Dementia
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Home Health Care
- Hospice Care
- Multiple Myeloma
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Occupational Therapy
- Palliative Care
- Physical Therapy
- Speech Therapy
- Spiritual Counselor
- Stroke Patients