Though having complications with motor skills is the more commonly known symptom of Parkinson’s disease, this condition can also have a significant impact on a senior’s ability to communicate effectively. The Westfield Parkinson’s care experts at Home Care Assistance wants to discuss the effects Parkinson’s has on speech and steps you can take to help your elderly loved one alleviate this symptom.
Common Speech Complications Associated with Parkinson’s
Approximately 85 percent of people with Parkinson’s disease experience some type of difficulty speaking. Parkinson’s can cause a person to talk at a lower volume than normal, have a reduced range of pitch, resulting in a monotone voice, and experience difficulty controlling muscles that articulate certain sounds. The masklike effect associated with Parkinson’s can compound these challenges by making it difficult for others to read facial expressions that aid in verbal communication. Seniors with Parkinson’s may also experience grammatical and word finding difficulties that can hinder speech.
A speech therapist or pathologist can be a valuable ally in helping your loved one enhance his or her speech skills. The therapist can recommend techniques to boost swallowing function, which can reduce the risk of choking and aspiration and make speech easier. He or she can also recommend appropriate communication aids and techniques that can conserve energy and reduce fatigue from trying to speak.
Self-Help Techniques for Facilitating Speech
You can help your loved one compensate for speech difficulties by encouraging him or her to try the following:
- Reduce background noise
- Speak slowly and over-articulate by using exaggerated consonants and prolonged vowel sounds
- Sit in a comfortable position and use good posture to reduce fatigue and provide breath support for speaking
- Use shorter phrases and sentences
- Rest before and after conversations
Assistive Devices That Can Enhance Speech
Eventually, your loved one may require an assistive device to communicate clearly. Some communication aids you might consider to make providing Westfield senior care easier include:
- A personal voice amplifier
- A TTY phone relay system
- Notebooks, language boards, or tablets for typing out messages
For additional strategies to help alleviate your loved one’s Parkinson’s symptoms, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are expertly trained to help seniors with Parkinson’s live happier and healthier lives by assisting with mobility, providing cognitive and social stimulation, and helping with many other daily tasks. In addition to Parkinson’s care, we also offer comprehensive stroke, Alzheimer’s, and dementia home care Westfield seniors can rely on. For more information and to schedule a no-obligation consultation, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 908.450.9400.