Seniors who have experienced stroke, deal with various after-effects. Speech, swallowing and communication problems affect a substantial percentage of people who have had a stroke. What are some of the plusses a senior can get from joining post-stroke speech therapy support group?
Some people with speech issues due to stroke, recover within a few hours or days. However, others remain with lasting speech impediments. The main categories of speech issues due to stroke include:
- The language/communication disorder is known as aphasia.
- Swallowing difficulties are known as dysphagia.
- Dysarthria indicates problems with the actual articulation. Weak muscles renders speech hard to understand.
Why Would a Senior Need an SLP Following a Stroke?
SLP is the abbreviation for a Speech Language Pathologist also known as a Speech Therapist. Following a stroke, the patient can have an assessment for disorders related to speech. Once a patient knows where they are standing medically, they can work with the diagnosis and treat any speech issues.
We use the mouth to speak and eat. We sing, smile, kiss and express ourselves with the mouth and facial muscles. A stroke can really change those things physically.
A senior patient, hopes to get back as closes as possible to their pre-stroke abilities. Therapy can help with this aim:
- If the muscles are weak, due to stroke, therapy can often strengthen facial muscles and those responsible for swallowing.
- Stroke can affect speech, due to aphasia. But speech therapy will hopefully improve communication.
- For many, the after-effects of stroke, robs them of their self-confidence or their personality.
- A person whose speech is affected may withdraw from speaking or from the public. Encouragement to speak is so important.
Why Would a Senior Not Want to Join a Support Group?
It is understandable that a senior who experienced a stoke might be hesitant to join a support group. For example, if a person is struggling to come to terms with where they are holding in life, that might be a barrier. However, there are so many advantages of group support.
Sometimes a senior has to get inspired, or accept the situation before they can move forwards and join a support group.
For many, ‘accepting the situation’ is a separate project, that requires not-a-little effort.
“I know what you mean…”
The Advantages of a Post-Stroke Speech Therapy Support Group
Who could get the most out of a post-stroke speech therapy support group?
A senior who is well-informed, and understands their situation as best as possible. They will be open to ideas. They will be happy to make the effort – because speech therapy requires effort and stamina. Usually, a person who understands the problem, is motivated to work towards the solution.
Here are some advantages:
- There is a social advantage, because a person can make friends. These friends actually identify with the issue, since they are fighting the same battle.
- A person can share their story and hear others’ stories. Hearing and being heard is a powerful way to feel better about life.
- This is a safe environment in which to improve one’s speaking skills, with others in a similar position.
- Seniors can meet up in a care center or rehab center. There is an opportunity to feel the sunshine.
- The senior can share frustrations, share info and contacts for healthcare or insurance.
- Learn about apps, computer programs and new devices to help improve speech. Find out about help centers that might loan out equipment.
- Collect practical tips, to help deal with day to day issues. And the best thing is, it comes from other people who are equally ‘in’ the experience.
List of Resources – reach a post-stroke speech therapy support group
ASHA publishes a list of organizations for Speech and Language Disorders.
ANCDS (Academy of Neurologic Communication Disorders and Sciences) has a lot of useful information on their website.
The American Stroke Association also has a stroke support list specifically for speech therapy.
For someone who is in a post-acute rehab setting, group speech therapy is an idea to consider. A post-stroke patient, will be recommended by the medical staff as to which course of action is the best one to take.
A person has to listen to the suggestions and see if which option is a good for them at that time. Maybe they want to delay beginning therapy. Although, that is often not an option, since the best effects are accessible as close as possible in time after the stroke event. A post-stroke speech therapy support group can help a senior patient to get back to themselves. So, the patient and their loved ones should consider the many advantagespost-stroke speech therapy support group can offer.