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How Can Short-Term Therapy Help Seniors After a Stroke

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Stroke in seniors can be very devastating and lead to a diminished ability to communicate. It is seen that a stroke can heavily affect the language center of the brain. Although the specific effects of a stroke on language problems will depend on where it happened in the brain, it can generally lead to three main conditions – aphasia, dysarthria, and dyspraxia.

In most cases, stroke leads to aphasia and affects the reading and writing skills of the senior. Besides, the language disorder also affects how the senior understands communication. Sometimes, he/she may not be able to speak either. Dysarthria, on the other hand, is a motor speech disorder. This is caused because of weakened muscles, such as in the lips, mouth, tongue, or the soft palate. It can sometimes affect the vocal folds in the voice box and respiratory muscles as well. All of that affects the senior’s ability to speak.

Dyspraxia is also a type of motor speech disorder, yet it happens because of the impairment of programming and sequencing. Seniors with dyspraxia will be able to use the muscles for communication, but cannot find the right coordination to utter words or complete sentences correctly.

How Can Short-Term Therapy Help

It is seen that short-term speech therapy at a nursing care facility can help to recover language and communication skills in seniors after a stroke. Speech therapists or speech-language pathologists make use of diverse methods to help seniors restore their ability to speak and understand language after a stroke.

The exact method will depend upon the severity of the condition and the specific communication skills affected. Yet usually it involves practice and repetition for faster rehabilitation and recovery. This process helps the brain to construct new neural pathways in order to compensate for the damages caused by the stroke and revive the lost or weakened skills.

It is recommended to start stroke rehabilitation in a skilled nursing home as soon as possible after the event. Typically, short-term speech therapy for stroke rehabilitation will begin with an evaluation of the disorder and its severity. Then the speech therapist will devise an appropriate treatment plan to attend to the needs of the senior.

A speech-language pathologist can also draft strategies to ease frustration, which is common in seniors after stroke due to their lost skills. The expert will also encourage seniors to use alternative methods of communication until their language and speaking skills are recovered. If the senior is experiencing any swallowing difficulties, the speech therapist will also train him/her to cope with the situation proactively.

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