As we age, cognitive and physical changes may affect communication, memory, hearing and swallowing. These natural changes may also be compounded by other changes due to illness, disability and disease, such as stroke, dementia and Parkinson’s Disease.
Changes to communication
• Hearing impairment – the leading communication disability in older adults
• Speech problems, such as dysarthria (commonly appearing as slurring of speech) and apraxia of speech (difficulty planning the sequences of sounds to form words) may occur following a stroke or with chronic diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease.
• Language changes can be part of the normal ageing process. It is common to experience occasional word finding difficulties as we age. Neurological changes may result in aphasia (difficulty finding words, forming sentences and/or understanding people). Changes in language may be the result of stroke, dementia and other disorders.
• Changes to the voice commonly occur with age. Voice disorders (dysphonia) can commonly occur with diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease.
• Cognitive changes (such as memory difficulties) can also impact communication
Changes to swallowing
Swallowing disorders (dysphagia) affect a large number of older people. Around 50% of people living in aged care facilities have difficulty swallowing. People with difficulty swallowing can be at increased risk of malnutrition, dehydration, choking and pneumonia.
How can Speech Pathology help?
Speech Pathologists are highly skilled in the assessment and management of communication and swallowing disorders. We also work with other health professionals to maintain and improve general health and well-being and overall quality of life. Speech Pathologists may also help at the end of life to facilitate comfort and well-being with swallowing and communication.
Speech Pathologists recognise and advocate for communication as a basic human right. We are passionate about helping older Australians participate in society, maintain their relationships with others and express their wants and needs.
How can Eat Speak Learn help?
Our experienced speech pathologists work with you to develop a management plan that reflects your goals and improve your quality of life. We are passionate about providing an evidence-based service that is engaging and fun! We are also able to provide sensitive and meaningful care at the end of a person’s life.
How can we access Eat Speak Learn Speech Pathology services?
At Eat Speak Learn we understand that older people may have difficulty accessing health services due to health, transport and other reasons. We are passionate about helping older people regardless of where they live or their level of disability. We are able to help older people with communication and swallowing disorders:
• at our clinic
• in their homes
• in aged care facilities
• in the community