The Benefits of Speech Therapy for People With Alzheimer’s
“My father started growing very quiet as Alzheimer’s started claiming more of him.”
– Patti Davis (daughter of U.S. President Ronald Reagan)
Alzheimer’s is an irreversible disease of the brain and the most common cause of dementia. The changes it brings about in the life of the affected individual touch on behaviour, emotions, the ability to process thoughts and the ability to communicate.
The changes that occur to the speech and language of someone with Alzheimer’s typically involve attention, memory and word-finding. These changes often surface in the mild to moderate stages of the disease.
Every person is unique and the progress of the disease may follow a slightly different course in each individual. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, with early intervention there is much that can be done to help slow the advance of the disease. There are also many strategies to assist the affected individual in coping with some of the unpleasant side effects associated with this disease.
Speech and language intervention can help by providing memory and communication strategies designed to preserve communication for as long as possible. Developing a memory book, for example, can help a person recall personal information. Equipping family members and caregivers with communication tools and techniques can improve their ability to communicate with the Alzheimer’s patient and alleviate frustration. If the patient has swallowing issues, a Speech-Language Pathologist can recommend dietary modifications to ensure safer swallowing and decrease the risk of choking or aspiration.
At S.L. Hunter & Associates, there is an entire team of highly-skilled and caring Speech-Language Pathologists and Communicative Disorders Assistants who can help. The clinicians are client-centered and emphasize functional activities so that therapy is related to the client’s unique circumstances.
The offices of S.L. Hunter & Associates are located at 5195 Harvester Rd. Unit 4B. They can be reached by telephone at 905-637-5522 or online at www.slhunter.ca.