Home Health Speech Therapy Helps Seniors Stay Social

Updated: Feb 4



Employing a home health speech therapist like our online speech therapy from Better Speech, is a wonderful way to help you participate in speech-language therapy when you need accommodations that an outpatient facility cannot provide, is not available, or are too inconvenient. Getting speech therapy via a home health service is most ideal for patients who are still rehabilitating, don’t have access to transportation, may not have a resource that is convenient, are homebound or facing any number of limiting situations. Especially now, with more of us looking for services at home, a home health service may be the best solution for you.


What is home health speech therapy and who is it for?

Speech therapy is a program designed for people with disorders related to communicating, cognition, and oral/feeding/swallowing skills.


The adult demographic for home health speech therapy is largely seniors, with ages 70+ ranking the highest. Senior citizens are more likely to need speech therapy for dementia, stroke, swallowing difficulty, and weakened vocal cords.


Speech-language pathologists are trained professionals that assess these disorders and design therapy programs to improve quality of life or even eradicate the disorder, where possible. They must hold a Master’s degree in their field, be licensed by the State, and most will have a clinical certification (CCC) from American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA).


Speech-language pathologists can help with:

  • Cognitive-communication

  • Reading and Writing

  • Alternative means of communication with technology and other tools

  • Strengthening muscles in the mouth, jaw, neck, etc.


Home health speech-language therapy is ideal in situations where patients could participate in therapy more successfully from the comfort of their home. A home health speech-language therapist is able to provide direct, one-on-one interactions, and design therapy activities tailored to the home environment.


Informed Caregivers

Home health speech-language pathologists, like those from Better Speech, are informed caregivers that have the advantage of interacting with their client while they are in their home. These reasons also lead to better "continuity of care," and "generalization."


Continuity of Care

By interacting in the home environment, family members and caregivers may participate and are likely to encourage exercises and activities in between sessions, leading to the patient getting more practice each week and improved outcomes.


Generalization

Generalization occurs when one learns one thing with a speech-language pathologist in one context, and is then able to apply the same concept or practice in another context successfully. Home health speech-language pathologists can help patients achieve this because their therapies may be customized and designed to the patient’s real-life.


When a patient learns something new in a clinic, they run the risk of only learning how to use it within the parameters of a clinic with their speech pathologist. When they’re learning new concepts as applied to their normal, day-to-day life, it builds stronger connections because they’ll be frequently interacting with the personally relevant material, like their own silverware, or their collection of books.



Home Health Speech Therapy for Seniors

It’s no secret that as a person grows older, they’re more likely to experience any number of issues related to communication, cognition, and oral functionality. Part of a speech-language pathologist’s training is learning how to treat these issues specifically for a geriatric patient.


The goal of speech therapy for elderly patients is to increase functional communication, cognitive skills, teach safe swallowing, or determine if their issues are caused by other factors like diet, dehydration, or medications.


Dementia

Speech therapy can actually help improve the consequences of dementia for patients and change their quality of life. Dementia affects a person’s cognitive abilities as they age. By undergoing speech therapy, home health practices can aid in preserving essential brain function for communication, attention, memory, and problem solving.


Stroke

After experiencing a stroke, patients may to have aphasia, a communication disorder that can affect a person’s ability to use and process language. Aphasia is extremely common in stroke victims, so much so that speech therapy is generally recommended as a treatment immediately after the stroke. The faster therapy is started, the faster a patient can improve.


Swallowing Issues

Speech therapy can be effective for seniors who develop swallowing problems as they get older. Similar to weakened vocal cords, which we’ll discuss next, the muscles associated with swallowing can degrade with age or become damaged after an accident. By working with a home health speech therapist, a senior can improve their abilities to chew and swallow from the comfort of their own home.


Weakened Vocal Cords

It's well-known that as people get older, their vocal cords start to break down due to the natural aging process. As you age, your vocal cords and larynx will both weaken, which may make conversation difficult. Speech therapy can help counteract this degradation by providing exercises for re-learning how to talk and communicate effectively.


Why You should consider home health speech language therapy for seniors


As one ages, and their ability to communicate degrades while their lists of issues rises, not being able to say when they need help can lead to a life-threatening situation. But in general, communication is at the core of our relationships. Maintaining one's ability to communicate is crucial for quality of life.


At Better Speech we know you deserve speech therapy that works.

We have experts in your needs and assign the right therapist; not just the therapist that happens to be in your area. If you want to find out more about our services, contact us to schedule a free consultation.