Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke. Your mom had a stroke, and while it’s a common health concern with older adults, it’s also stressful for your entire family. For now, she’s in the hospital, but what happens after that? What are her care needs going forward? Speech therapy services can help with some of the issues that have occurred after the stroke.
It Depends on the Stroke
When the stroke is in the left side of the brain, it impacts speech and language. It can also lead to cautious behaviors, memory loss, and forgetfulness. Movements on the right side of the body will be limited or gone.
If the stroke occurs in the right side of the brain, memory loss is common. Vision difficulty is also likely. Behavior is faster and more inquisitive. The left side of the body is affected and movement will be limited or gone.
Some strokes occur in the brain stem. If that happens, symptoms with both the right side and the left side occur together. It can make it impossible for the person to speak or move the body at all.
In the hospital, her medical team sets her up with medications that help prevent additional strokes. She’ll also start working with occupational, speech, and physical therapists.
Speech Therapy Helps With Swallowing
If muscle control is weaker on the left or right side, swallowing becomes an issue. Your mom risks choking or having food or saliva end up in her lungs where aspiration pneumonia is a risk. She needs to build strength in the throat so that she’s swallowing properly.
Through speech therapy sessions, your mom will work on tongue and throat exercises that help rebuild the brain’s control of the muscles that control speech and swallowing. She’ll need to work on those exercises often, even if it’s stressful. If you work on them with her and encourage her to keep trying, it will help.
Therapy Assists With Communication
As the left side of the face or the right side can be paralyzed, it makes it hard to speak. The injury to the brain adds to the trouble with speech. It can make it very hard for your mom to communicate her needs.
You have to learn how to read her gestures, and she needs to learn how to effectively communicate her needs. If she is hungry and can’t tell you, her speech therapist may teach her to gesture by rubbing her stomach or putting her fingers up to her mouth.
She’ll work on regaining some vocal control. She might not speak clearly again, but she may regain some level of speech, and that’s the value of speech therapy.
Following your mom’s stroke, it’s important to arrange speech therapy. She may not always enjoy the exercises and therapy sessions, but they can help her communicate her needs effectively. Talk to her medical team about your mom’s care needs going forward and arrange speech therapy as quickly as you can.
If you or a loved one needs Speech Therapy Services in Northampton PA or the surrounding areas, contact the caring professionals at Extended Family Care of Allentown. Call today at (610) 200-6097.
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