Dementia is the declining condition of the brain to function that interferes with daily life. It is not a disease but rather various symptoms. In such a condition, the communicative skills, as well as cognitive functions of the patient, compromised. Dementia is knowns to affect the functioning of memory, visual perception, and attention. These symptoms often cause disorientation, impaired judgment, and depression.
Speech therapy in Dementia is a way in which a speech-language pathologist can help the patients in maintaining a certain level of independence in themselves. Speech therapy helps in stimulating the cognitive abilities of the patient by engaging and practicing certain activities.
There are certain ways in which the cognitive functioning of the brain can be stimulated:
Spaced Retrieval errorless learning
Memory books and other Memory Aids
The speech therapists determine the changes in how a person is eating, swallowing, and drinking. The changes, if directed towards the improper cognitive abilities, are managed by certain strategies.
Other than normal activities, the person with Dementia also faces difficulty in communication aspects. It can either be verbal or non-verbal or both which includes gesturing, speaking, writing, and reading. The major areas that get affected by Dementia include social interaction, behavioral self-regulation, academic performance, as well as vocational performance.
It can get difficult to communicate with the person showing symptoms of Dementia. Hence, there are certain ways to help such situations.
Speak calmly and clearly
Speak at a slower pace, so that the person processes the information and respond accordingly
Avoid speaking in sharp or loud voices
It is advisable to use simple and short sentences
Try speaking in a humorous way
You can also try to indulge them in conversations with others
Include them in a social group. Doing this can help in maintaining a sense of identity for the person with Dementia
Apart from this, speech therapists suggest that there are certain things you can talk about with the person of Dementia.
Whatever you are saying, say in a positive way
Try and avoid the direct questions
If you’re asking questions, ask one at a time and try framing them in “yes” or “no” category
Try another way if the person cannot understand too complicated information. Don’t repeat the same sentences.
Try to break down too much information in simpler explanations and sentences
A person with Dementia may have difficulty in determining particular information to be true or false. In such a case, try not to contradict them directly rather try to steer the conversation around the topic.
A person showing symptoms of Dementia may have difficulty in carrying out simpler tasks of everyday life. Moreover, the patient may show certain behavioral, social, and physical imbalance. Such imbalance is caused by the declining cognitive abilities of the person. A speech therapist can help to overcome these disabilities through persistent training and practice.