Speech therapy is a vital part of the rehabilitation and healthcare of many adults who suffer from traumatic brain injury. For older adults who suffer from tremor-related conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, the use of speech therapy is essential to ensure independence as long as possible.
If you are caring for a loved one who has speech complications associated with Parkinson’s disease, it is important to find a speech therapist that can assist your loved one in overcoming the issues with speech and hearing. While hearing is typically not directly affected by Parkinson’s disease, the ability to speak clearly and understand speech may result in some confusion with hearing and listening. As a result, a combination of speech and hearing therapy may be prudent.
Geriatric therapy clinics typically will have a speech therapist on staff that will specialize in Parkinson’s disease and other tremor-related complications that affect speech. It is important for any speech therapy referral the doctor provides be done so to a clinic which specializes in geriatric care. In addition, be sure the clinic has a team of therapists that can work in travel speech therapy jobs to ensure that your loved one can obtain home services, if needed. Because the needs and learning ability of the elderly is vastly different than their younger counterparts with tremor disorders, geriatric clinics will provide the most ideal outcome.
In the Parkinson’s speech therapy program, you will find that your loved one will be encouraged to participate in clinical, precise speech exercises that are designed to improve function of the lips and tongue. But, in addition to this, your loved one will also be encouraged to read, listen to spoken word, express words verbally and engage in both individual therapy as well as group therapy. Needless to say, Parkinson’s speech therapy can be a challenging adaption for many older adults and, as a result, some resistance is to be expected.
In the short term, Parkinson’s speech therapy will help to boost the confidence level of your loved one by providing guidance that will improve their communication outside of the clinical setting. In the long term, your loved one’s speech complications may continue to deteriorate but, ultimately, with speech therapy the deterioration can be slowed or even halted. The key to achieving the best outcome will come by way of finding a clinic that specializes in the needs of the older population of adults.
Sources: Communication Technologies for the Elderly, by Rosemary Lubinski