Dementia affects numerous aspects of an individual’s life, and later stages of the progressive disease may impact speech. Difficulty processing language is a common symptom of many types of dementia, including Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). As your loved one progresses through the stages of dementia, you may notice signs such as struggling to recall words, decreased ability to concentrate, and slower response time when conversing. If you’ve noticed any of these signs, a speech-language pathologist (also referred to as a speech therapist) may be able to help. If you’re considering including a speech therapist in your loved one’s Lewy Body Dementia treatment plan, here’s what you should know about how they can help:
A Speech-Language Pathologist Will Begin By Conducting Tests
Speech-language pathologists will create a plan of action tailored to each individual’s needs. They’ll begin by conducting tests to learn more about the individual’s speech, language, and thinking skills. Once the speech therapist has determined which areas to focus on, he or she will teach the patient and his or her family members or care partners strategies to improve communication (and therefore, improve quality of life).
Ways a Speech Therapist Can Help Those with Dementia
Speech therapists often help those with dementia and their family or care partners in a multitude of ways, which may include:
- Helping the individual with LBD learn strategies to remember important information
- Working with the individual to improve articulation, volume control, and fluency
- Creating a plan for alternative forms of communication, such as written words or pictures
- Evaluating the person’s ability to eat and swallow, and addressing issues if necessary
- Working with the family or care partners to teach effective communication strategies
Late-stage LBD and other types of dementia will likely impact an individual’s ability to speak and may also cause problems with eating and swallowing. If your loved one is experiencing difficulty recalling words or seems to lose his or her train of thought during conversations, it may be time to consult with a speech-language pathologist. A speech therapist can be a valuable addition to the care team for those with LBD, so consider reaching out to a professional in your area.
If your loved one is one of the approximately 1.4 million Americans living with LBD, it can be challenging to cope with your emotions as you navigate this progressive disease. When you’re in need of insight or assistance finding medical professionals who have experience with LBD, our team is here to help. We’re happy to help you find medical practitioners in your area to improve your loved one’s Lewy Body Dementia treatment plan, or simply have a chat about any concerns you may have. Our helpline is available seven days per week, and you can give us a call at 516-218-2026 or send us an email at any time.