Has your elderly mom or dad developed speech problems in recent months? It’s common for aging adults to experience health issues that affect their speech. As their family caregiver, you want the best for them, and getting them professional help for their speech issues is a key part of overseeing their health issues. There’s no better time to learn more about speech issues in seniors.
As the top method of communication between humans, speech is extremely important in seniors. Losing the ability to speak and communicate effectively can have serious consequences to an aging adult’s overall health. If elderly adults cannot explain problems they are having, can’t talk to doctors about how they feel, or struggle to tell family caregivers and senior care providers what they need, they could be putting their health in jeopardy.
Common Speech Problems in the Elderly
There’s a wide range of causes that trigger speech issues in aging adults. Some are due to certain age-related conditions that affect the muscles of the face, throat and tongue. The after-effects of a stroke, facial palsy, inflammation of a facial nerve or head injury can render an elderly person as unable to control their speech. Poorly fitting dentures, tightening of the larynx, and even decreases in hearing can also impact how well a person speaks and is understood.
Some health issues that affect speech take place within the communication path between the brain and the mouth, causing slurred speech or the reduced ability to recall words and ideas. These neurological conditions include aphasia, apraxia, stuttering, dysphonia and dysarthria.
Other causes include dementia, brain tumors and memory problems. When an elderly person experiences limits on how they communicate with others, it can be very frustrating. That’s why family caregivers and senior care providers must do all they can to get medical help for the condition.
Treating Speech Problems in Aging Adults
If an aging adult is experiencing speech issues, family caregivers must contact their doctor, who will treat any medical issues. Treatments include medicine, surgery, speech therapy and the use of technology in some cases. They will most likely refer the aging adult to a qualified speech therapist to get them some rehabilitative help in regaining as much control over their speech as possible. A true effort in restoring as much speech as possible will certainly improve the lives of the aging adult and their supporters.
When an aging adult is struggling with speech, family caregivers and senior care providers must help them with therapy, but also develop other ways of communication in the meantime. Some seniors can still write out their side of the conversation, while others may need to resort to body language. To maintain a good quality of life and reap the benefits of verbal communication, seniors with speech problems need a good support group to help them regain one of the most important components of human interaction.