More than 5 million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s disease. Each November, the Alzheimer’s Association leads a campaign to raise public awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and to honor the family and friends who care for people with the condition with Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Caregiver Month. In support of their awareness raising efforts, Speech Associates of NY will dedicate our blogs this month to discussing how Alzheimer’s disease affects communication, how speech-language therapy can help, and providing strategies for caregivers to increase communication and maintain a high quality of life.
Alzheimer’s disease affects cognitive function and memory, which in turn, affects the ability to communicate. In the early stages, this may take the form of occasionally forgetting the meaning of a word or having difficulty finding the word you want to use. As the disease progresses, the ability to speak fluently and understand the language of others decreases, eventually resulting in the inability to communicate effectively.
Speech-language pathologists are often a part of Alzheimer’s management teams, helping patients and their families to maintain strong communication for as long as possible. In the early stages, the speech therapist will work directly with the patient, helping them to devise and implement strategies for supporting their memory. This can consist of internal strategies, like visualization and repetition, or external strategies, like the use of a memory book or journal. As the disease progresses, speech therapy sessions will often focus on stimulating conversational skills and providing caregivers with information and support on communicating with their loved one in the most efficient way possible.
Check in again next week, when we’ll focus on caregivers and how they can help maintain communication on a day-to-day basis with an individual with Alzheimer’s disease.
For information on our New York based Speech-Language Pathology services, please call Speech Associates of New York today at (212) 308-7725 or visit our website at http://www.speechassociatesofny.com and find out how our team of professionally trained and certified speech-language pathologists can help
© 2013, Speech Associates of New York – All Rights Reserved