By BEN ADEL | Special to the Palisadian-Post
Speech and language problems that arise from stroke, struggles with dementia or the effects of aging present common difficulties with communication for many seniors. If left unchecked, these can quickly have negative effects on quality of living.
Since qualified patients can receive speech therapy under the umbrella of home health services, there’s never been a better time to consider shifting these essential treatments from popular clinics into a space where patients can recover and thrive: at home.
When Is Speech Therapy Needed?
The most common reasons speech therapy might be needed include:
- Stroke: One of the most common side effects of a stroke is aphasia—a disorder where damage occurs in the brain’s language and comprehension control center.
- Dementia: Many dementia patients suffer memory loss and cognitive deterioration. Speech and language therapy can help improve brain functions.
- Weakened vocal cords: With age, our vocal cords and larynx become less elastic. Vocal exercises developed by speech therapists can help with this issue.
- Difficulties with swallowing: Building muscles through routine and exercises can improve these issues.
A speech therapist will work to assess, diagnose, treat and help to prevent speech, language, voice, fluency, cognitive, communication and other related disorders. Speech therapists regularly work with people who may have difficulty swallowing.
A trained speech therapist will come to the home to administer tests in order to evaluate strengths and problem areas. After determining the root of the language issue, a therapist will personalize exercises aimed at improving and rebuilding speaking and communication skills, as well as retraining muscles used for speaking and swallowing.
Qualifying for Speech Therapy Services at Home
The factors that most commonly determine eligibility for in-home speech therapy are aligned with home health care qualification and typically include the following:
- Patients must be under the care of a doctor.
- A physician must certify that a plan of care requires outpatient speech language pathology services.
- The home health care agency used must be approved by Medicare.
- Patients must be a citizen of the United States or have been a legal resident for at least five years.
Reasons to Choose Speech Therapy in the Home
There are a number of benefits to choosing in-home speech and language therapy. The most significant advantages include:
- Comfort of the home: Recovering from trauma or illness typically includes discomfort. Many patients are able to relax and focus more at home when receiving speech therapy.
- Personalized care: No other patients exist when you receive in-home speech therapy. That means you’ll get your speech therapist’s undivided attention with very individualized care.
- Less travel = reduced stress: Having a speech therapist visit the home minimizes the stress of organizing transportation and time required for travel.
- The home environment supports stronger observation: In-home visits allow speech therapists to customize lessons that align with the patient’s lifestyle. It also gives an opportunity for a caregiver to observe these sessions and even help with exercises between sessions.
What to Expect from Home Speech Therapy Sessions
A licensed and trained home speech therapist will use several different speech therapy exercises that may include:
- Visual speech perception using the association of pictures to words
- Singing exercises since melodic intonations can help patients having trouble articulating specific words
- Constraint-induced language therapy focuses exclusively on speaking skills, bypassing writing or gesturing
- Respiratory muscle training, which hones in on strengthening the diaphragm, rib cage muscles and abdominal muscles
There are many ways to pay for speech therapy and other home health services, including Medi-Cal, Medicare, long-term care insurance, private health insurance, VA benefits, private pay (out of pocket) or a combination of any of the above.
If you or a senior loved one needs speech and language therapy, it’s time to consider receiving these important treatments from qualified, licensed and trained speech therapists in the comfort and convenience of your own home.
Ben Adel is founder of Luxe Homecare, a Pacific Palisades-based homecare and home health agency offering services in Los Angeles, Orange County and Riverside. They offer round-the-clock support, including speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, registered nurses (RN and LVN) and more. Background checks are required for all staff to give you and your loved ones the peace of mind you deserve. Contact the Luxe team at 310-459-3535 or visit luxehomecare.com.
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