When was the last time you had a “senior moment”? Whether misplacing their keys or having a familiar name slip their mind, most older adults have experienced some signs of mild memory loss. As people age, some memory loss is typical. However, there is a type of cognitive loss that goes beyond that of typical aging, but is not as severe as the issues associated with actual dementia: mild cognitive impairment. Last week, we discussed the different types of mild cognitive impairment and the effect the disorder can have on one’s daily functioning. While there is currently no known cure for the condition, there are steps you can take to lessen the impact of mild cognitive impairment on your day-to-day life. One of these is seeking the services of a speech-language pathologist.
One of the most important roles a speech therapist plays when treating an individual with mild cognitive impairment is helping to devise strategies. While therapy may not actually improve an individual’s memory, speech-language therapists are trained in cognitive-communication development, and can work with the individual to create different ways of supporting their memory in day-to-day life. This may include external supports, such as the use of a daily planner or journal. Internal supports may be developed as well; for example, the development of visualization, association or elaboration as methods of helping to retain information.
Language and communication skills can also suffer with the development of mild cognitive impairment. This can be an extremely difficult obstacle, as the individual suddenly may need to put conscious effort into communication, a skill which has come naturally their entire life. With their in-depth knowledge of the different facets of language and communication, a speech-language therapist can help to pinpoint the areas affected by mild cognitive impairment, and specifically target these in therapy through exercises for awareness and skill development. Maintaining functional language and communication skills is particularly important for those with mild cognitive impairment, as those with the disorder are typically able to continue to work and function in their normal routine. By working to boost language and communication skills, a speech-language pathologist can help an individual with mild cognitive impairment to maintain this normalcy for as long as possible.
Do you live with mild cognitive impairment? If so, how has it affected your life and what skills have you discovered to help you cope? Share your story in the comments section below!
If you or someone you know is having difficulty with speech, language, or swallowing, contact Speech Associates of New York today to find a professional speech-language pathologist who can help you or your loved one communicate to the fullest. Remember, early intervention is the key to maintaining and developing strong communication skills. Call us today at (212) 308-7725 or visit our website at www.speechassociatesofny.com.