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Cognitive Speech Therapy Can Improve Senior Independence

Speech therapy evaluations are common when someone is seeking out medical services.

Oftentimes, patients or Residents will suggest that they don’t need an evaluation because they “speak fine” or have no obvious signs of needing the therapy.

However, cognitive speech therapy isn’t just for individuals who may have difficulty speaking, this type of therapy works on a variety of skills. These include target language, swallowing, and cognition. Developing upon these areas, especially cognition, can help improve overall independence. Cognitive health includes attention, concentration, orientation, word retrieval, and executive functioning skills such as problem solving and reasoning. A cognitive disorder can range from a mild cognitive impairment to advanced dementia.

It is likely that many people will experience normal age-related cognitive changes, such as forgetting names of new acquaintances or have more difficulty multi-tasking. A speech pathologist plays an important role in educating individuals and their families about typical cognitive changes versus atypical. For example, it is abnormal to forget the names of familiar family members or friends.

Cognitive speech therapy serves as an important step towards identifying whether an individual is experiencing age-related cognitive changes or something else.

A speech therapist can design a treatment plan if an initial speech therapy evaluation reveals weaknesses in cognitive health. Treatment plans may include cognitive brain exercises, compensatory strategies, and ongoing education for the individual and any others who may be affected, such as family members and/or caregivers.

Speech therapists are also able to distinguish between cognitive disorders versus language disorders. While word retrieval can be affected by cognitive changes, it can also be the result of something not considered a cognitive disorder, such as aphasia, a condition that can occur after a brain injury, like a stroke. A person with aphasia may appear to have a cognitive disorder because they are confused and cannot recall words or names of familiar people and places. It is important to differentiate between cognitive and language disorders to guide treatment strategies appropriately and consequently, lead to better outcomes for individuals.

Cognitive speech therapy is important to best understand the cause of various symptoms that an older adult may be experiencing, such as communication breakdowns or abnormal behaviors. By speaking with a speech therapist, individuals can better maintain or regain their independence.

“Speech pathologists are ready to help make life better for patients and their families. They’re also covered by Medicare.”

Contact SALMON today to learn more information about how to get in touch with a speech therapist.

SALMON Health and Retirement