Many of the most common ailments of older adulthood have an effect on speech and language development, making life much more difficult. Without appropriate communication, it is impossible for seniors to describe their pain and articulate their needs. The Speech-Language Pathologists at Princeton Health Care Center combine many approaches to assess and treat both the physical and neurological problems related to speech and swallowing.
Common Causes Of Speech Impairment In Adults
The conditions that cause issues with speech in adults are typically much different than the causes of childhood speech disorders and therefore require a different approach and methodology. Here is a rundown of the most common reasons Princeton Health Care Center residents enter speech therapy:
- Apraxia: Most commonly seen in adults, this condition makes it impossible for patients to achieve certain movements, and is usually the result of brain injury caused by stroke, traumatic head injury, brain tumors, or neurodegenerative diseases. Customized speech therapy is used to treat apraxia, and patients may also be taught alternate forms of communication such as sign language.
- Dysarthria: Degenerative muscle and motor conditions like Parkinson’s and or Multiple Sclerosis, stroke, brain tumor, facial paralysis, or poor fitting dentures often result in difficulty moving the muscles of the diaphragm, vocal folds, tongue, and lips. Breath control exercises in speech therapy will help improve this condition, and slower speech will be easier to understand.
- Spasmodic dysphonia: There is no confirmed cause for these involuntary vocal cord movements, but medical interventions alongside speech therapy are common to manage symptoms
- Vocal Disturbances: Throat cancer, polyps, nodules, and certain drugs and substances can affect the vocal cords. Limiting speech and making lifestyle choices may aid in the recovery of these conditions
Benefits Of Speech Therapy
In addition to treating the above conditions, patients who see a speech therapist often report several other benefits to the treatment that may not be as directly obvious or apparent to outsiders:
- Speech Recovery: Not being able to speak at a time when self-advocacy is most needed can be terrifying and unnerving. Speech therapy allows for a quick start to a recovery that may continue throughout the rest of the patient’s life
- Personal Safety: Speech impairments are often the first very visible sign of a more troubling neurological condition that may advance rapidly, limiting the ability to function. By providing patients with methods of communication, speech-language pathologists make it possible for patients to play an active role in their own care.
- Overall Wellbeing: Occasionally, speech impairments can be caused by psychological or mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, or other physical concerns like nutrition or dehydration. A skilled speech-language pathologist is able to determine the cause and provide insights into improved care.
Princeton Health Care Center’s speech therapists work closely with other medical professionals to provide the most thorough and well-informed care to help our patients thrive in all aspects of life. If you or someone you love could benefit from the wraparound services of a long-term care facility, contact us today to learn more!