November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, hosted by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, and it is the ideal time to stop and recognize the speech pathologists who help dementia patients maintain their quality of life.
Problems with language function, memory and thinking ability are among the first symptoms of AD. Indication of AD can include word finding challenges, difficulty telling a story and trouble understanding lengthy and complex information.
The Benefits of Virtual Speech Therapy
Speech therapy for AD and dementia patients is similar, depending upon the needs of each patient. The expectation is not to reverse the disease’s impact on language communication but to slow the deterioration process while helping patients compensate, cope and reduce stress in speaking.
Virtual speech therapy is an ideal approach for addressing the communications disorders that are associated with AD. Virtual speech therapy makes dementia care more accessible, lessens caregiver burden and stress, and improves quality of life for those who prefer the familiar surroundings of home instead of traveling to brick and mortar rehab sites.
Online speech therapists intervene with AD patients to improve both verbal and non-verbal language. Treatments strategies include:
- Addressing articulation, fluency and voice-volume recognition through mouth coordination.
- Using and expressing language through traditional and alternative forms of communication, such as written, body and sign language, as well as computers and social media.
A virtual speech therapist can also work with the caregivers of AD patients. Learning effective ways to communicate with a loved one or someone with AD lessens the stress and frustration for both patient and caregiver. An AD patient’s behavior is not usually random. There are different environmental stressors, including the behavior of others, that trigger reactions such as fear, confusion and even hostility.
National Alzheimer’s Month is a reminder that early treatment of dementia is a vital treatment protocol. Speech therapy helps people with AD to maintain their quality of life and independence as long as possible.
If you answer “Yes” to any of the questions below, you should request an evaluation by a Great Speech therapist. Click here to begin your journey.
Do you experience any of the following:
- Difficulty expressing yourself and sharing your thoughts clearly.
- Difficulty understanding what is heard and when people speak to you.
- Difficulty understanding and following directions.
- Difficulty asking and answering questions.
Articulation / Phonology:
- Difficulty pronouncing certain sounds or words. Hard to understand.
- Need to repeat phrases or words multiple times to be understood.
- Voice sounds too harsh, wet or gurgly.
- Does your voice have a nasal or hoarse quality, inappropriate pitch, rate or loudness.
- Do you repeat syllables or words, prolong sounds or frequently hesitate when speaking.