Speech Therapy Activities for Adults
Speech therapy is a rapidly growing program in the United States, benefiting people of all ages. One reason for the growth in this area is the growth of the US population of people over the age of 65. Currently, the US has a larger number of individuals over 65 than at any other period in history, and that number is only expected to keep growing. As people live longer, there is greater risk for medical conditions that impact speech, such as brain injuries, dementia or a stroke.
Speech therapy is an integral part of rehabilitation for a variety of conditions associated with aging, and many rehabilitation facilities and skilled nursing communities, such as Mattoon Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Mattoon, Ill., have invested in on-site speech therapy resources.
If you or a loved one is considering speech therapy as a support program, there are some important points to consider. It is best to understand what the program offers, what functional speech therapy activities for adults you can do on your own to support your goals and speech therapy problem solving activities for adults.
Cognitive Speech Therapy Goals for Adults
The ability to communicate is treasured at all ages. Babies begin to babble and use physical cues to demonstrate their needs. As people grow, there are changes and new opportunities for communication. In your golden years, communication becomes a vital tool in remaining healthy and safe.
The overall goal of speech therapy for older adults is to increase cognitive skills, teach safe swallowing and improve functional communication, all as a means to providing the patient with the best quality of life possible. The actual, specific cognitive speech therapy goals for adults will vary between individuals and depend largely on what the root cause is of the person’s need for therapy. Here are some common causes of a need for speech therapy rehabilitation and what the goals may include:
The lack of ability to swallow defines this condition and can occur for a variety of reasons. Older adults cannot afford to lose nutrition due to an inability to swallow, so this is a serious concern. To help combat this condition, speech therapists may set goals such as improving eating positions, using modified utensils and avoiding certain foods.
After a loved one has a stroke, there are many concerns. Aphasia is a communication disorder where patients have difficulty finding the right word or may use altered or halting speech. In this case, the goal of speech therapy is to achieve maximum possible functioning.
While many people do not realize the benefits of speech therapy for dementia patients, there are many ways the support is beneficial. Speech therapists can help dementia patients to retain their communication skills for as long as possible, allowing them to continue to relate easily to family and friends.
Functional Speech Therapy Activities for Adults
Programs for speech therapy specifically designed for seniors, like the ones at Mattoon Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, are created to benefit each individual resident. Mattoon Rehabilitation will perform an assessment of each person to understand which activities and exercises will be most beneficial. No matter what program a speech therapist suggests, there is always additional work that can be done individually. Here are some suggestions for functional speech therapy activities for adults:
Move your tongue around as much as possible – in and out, side to side and up and down. Hold each position for two seconds, then repeat. Training your tongue to move easily in coordinated patterns can help to improve speech.
Smile and blow kisses.
Stand in front of the mirror, then smile and relax your face as many times as you can. Change it up by making kissy faces, then relaxing. In addition to strengthening muscles, doing these exercises in front of the mirror provides feedback, which stimulates your brain, making this an excellent cognitive-communication therapy activity.
Play word games.
Computer games, like alchemy or solitaire, are great for improving your brain’s language processing skills. While you aren’t actually talking, work is still being accomplished with cognitive-linguistic therapy activities like this!
Count the syllables.
Working with a partner, speak different words to each other. When one person says a word, the other should guess how many syllables are in that word. Provide each other with feedback, then switch places. This exercise helps improve the pattern of speech sounds and the ability to produce speech.
Addressing problem areas.
If you have difficulty saying a certain consonant, try pairing it with all five vowels and practice saying the sounds over and over. For example, if you struggle with “F”, try saying “FA, FE, FI, FO, FU”. For a real challenge, try all the consonants in the alphabet!
Speech therapy apps.
There are many great options! Talk to your speech therapy team about what apps may work best for you and your unique needs. The apps offer games, exercise programs and provide feedback on your progress.
Finding the Right Support
At Mattoon Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, our focus is on the patient. Our ability to integrate specialized physicians and therapists with everyday care routines allows residents to maximize their recovery experience. In addition to physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, our holistic approach to rehabilitation includes access to:
- Skilled nursing care
- Recreational programs
- Exercise groups
- Social services
- Nutrition services
- Infectious disease care
Schedule a tour today to learn more about the support that is waiting for you and your loved ones in your time of need.