As science and medicine advance at an ever-increasing rate, people today are living longer than ever. With senior citizens making up the largest and fastest growing segment of our population, making sure that people maintain their health well into their twilight years is becoming increasingly important. Each September, groups across the country observe National Healthy Aging Month, a campaign designed to increase awareness of how seniors can improve their health, well being, and overall quality of life. Last week, we talked about Mild Cognitive Impairment, a problem many people experience as they age. Today we’ll talk about some other communication problems that are common for older adults and how a speech-language pathologist can help.
Dementia: When people think of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, they usually only think of memory problems. But dementia also creates significant problems in understanding and producing language. A speech-language pathologist works with people with dementia and their families to provide strategies to maintain meaningful communication for as long as possible.
Stroke: Strokes become increasingly common with age, and can produce a range of communication problems. Problems with both speech (clearly saying words) and language (finding the words you want to use) are some of the most common issues following a stroke. A speech-language pathologist works with patient immediately after a stroke to improve communication recovery as the brain heals, and can also provide compensation strategies to improve communication where challenges remain. A speech-language pathologist can also help patients who have trouble swallowing, another common problem following stroke.
Voice Training: As people age, their voices become weaker and less resonant, a phenomenon called presbylaryngis. Even though this is a part of typical aging, many people want to retain the strong, dynamic voice of their youth, particularly people who use their voice frequently in professional or public settings. Professional voice training with a speech-language pathologist can improve vocal quality.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give us a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.
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