Nurse checking in on senior patient at Crystal Pines.

How Does Speech Therapy Work?

Speech therapy is one of the most commonly offered rehabilitative therapies available at care providers around the country. But what is speech therapy really – and who is it for?

Like two other common kinds of therapies – occupational and physical – speech therapy is targeted toward restoring functionality lost to common health concerns. Speech pathologists and therapists diagnose and treat diverse issues, including problems with speaking, eating, drinking or swallowing.

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of speech therapy for seniors along with key facts to help you make more-informed care decisions.

Who Can Benefit From Speech Therapy?

The most frequent use for speech therapy in older adults is to help them recover from a stroke or brain injury. But what do speech therapists actually do for seniors recovering from a stroke? Here’s the three big areas they try to improve.

  • Speech therapists monitor swallowing difficulties. It’s very common for stroke recovery patients to have issues with eating and swallowing – a very coordinated movement that most of us take for granted. Experts can also educate family members and other caregivers to recognize the signs of choking and how they can assist.
  • Alleviating aphasia. Aphasia is a disorder that causes a disconnect in one’s ability to understand and express themselves through language. A therapist would work with your loved one to identify what areas of language they’re struggling with – reading, speaking, writing or listening. It’s all about rebuilding damaged brain pathways and making new connections.
  • Strengthening the voice. Muscular weakness in the throat and mouth can make it hard to form words. Speech therapists design exercise regimens targeted toward strengthening the supportive muscles that make speaking possible.

How Long Does It Take for Speech Therapy to Work?

This is a tough question to answer – but it largely depends on the severity of injury and frequency of treatment. Generally, you can expect a course of speech therapy for post-stroke or brain injury recovery to take months, if not years. But it ultimately depends on how serious your or your loved one’s impairment is. There’s always a time component when discussing stroke recovery. Rehabilitative therapies can affect that timetable, but they can’t completely eliminate it.

What Age is Best for Speech Therapy?

Speech therapy can be useful for people of all ages! For children and young adults, this usually means treating speech disorders or learning disabilities like dyslexia. For older adults, it can be used to treat lasting childhood speech problems or acute impairment caused by brain injury or stroke. These health concerns can occur at any age, of course, but are most commonly seen in adults over the age of 65.

Find Out How Our Care Can Help

At Crystal Pines Rehabilitation and Health Care, we’re committed to providing a higher class of senior care for everyone in the Crystal Lake area. Our rehabilitative therapy offerings include occupational, speech and physical therapies – giving confidence that you or your loved one can rely on us.

Whether you’re looking for a post-stroke recovery partner or the place to bounce back after a surgery, injury or illness, reach out. We’re ready and waiting to answer your questions and alleviate your concerns. Contact us online or call 815-459-7791 today.