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Speech Therapy for Memory Loss

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” right? What if research indicates otherwise?

Current studies show specific areas of thinking reveal normal decline as we age while other areas remain solid. Areas that remain preserved include:

  • long-term memory
  • focused attention to task (reading a book or watching a TV show)
  • vocabulary and language understanding
  • problem-solving in familiar situations

However, you might begin to notice difficulties such as:

  • speed of processing (normal activities take longer to perform)
  • problem solving in new or unfamiliar situations
  • word-finding
  • attention for switching between activities or doing two things at once (reading a book with the TV on)
  • short-term memory

Simple additions or changes to your daily routine may have the most impact. For example, if short-term memory gives you trouble, you may need to incorporate the use of a planner or “memory book” to help you keep track of shopping lists, appointments, and schedules. Memory books like this can also help indirectly with specific word-finding and problem-solving.

Research shows cognitive interventions, such as working with a speech- language pathologist (SLP), can slow some of the changes that occur. Speech- language pathologists help to preserve individual functioning at the highest level of independence, focusing on language, attention, memory, sequencing, problem solving, and other planning and organizing tasks.

Following a comprehensive evaluation, a usual treatment session can range from 30- 45 minutes. Therapy is tailored to your specific needs and your input is highly valued. The SLP may demonstrate memory strategies and then provide opportunities to practice the specific strategy multiple times in a session. The SLP may help you work to maintain your attention skills by giving you a task to complete with background noise or in a distracting environment like our OT/ PT gym.

Most importantly, SLPs work to make therapy meaningful for your life. We’d be happy to coach you and the important people around you with strategies to make daily tasks easier. If you are interested in how Meritus Total Rehab Care can help you maintain your lifestyle, please call us at 301-714-4025.

By: Marissa M. Yoes, Speech Language Pathologist

Sources:

Emory University (Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center)

American Speech-Language Hearing Association

11116 Medical Campus Road
Hagerstown, MD 21742
301-790-8000
TDD: 1-800-735-2258
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