Speech Therapy and Dementia

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Speech Therapy and Dementia 

Written by Meaghan Arnold M.A. CCC-SLP

Currently, 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for 60 to 80% of cases of dementia. It’s projected that by 2050, the number of individuals living with Alzheimer’s will jump to 14 million in the United States alone. 

What is Dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term for a decline in memory and cognitive-linguistic skills caused by abnormal changes in the brain. Dementia can occur with many diagnoses, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and many others. Dementia is often progressive and degenerative. There are several types of dementia that include but are not limited to, 

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Vascular dementia
  • Lewy Body dementia
  • Frontotemporal dementia 
  • Mixed dementia

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of dementia can present themselves in many different ways depending on specific diagnosis and changes to the brain. Some symptoms of dementia include 

  • Difficulty with short-term and immediate memory
  • Difficulty with paying bills
  • Difficulty managing medications
  • Difficulty planning and preparing meals
  • Difficulty making and keeping up with appointments 
  • Difficulty finding words and communicating 

How can Speech Language Pathologists help?

Speech pathologists can address memory problems, language comprehension and expression, difficulty with orientation to place, time, and person, and problem-solving deficits. Speech pathologists can also work with caregivers and family members to develop functional plans as an individual’s deficits progress and change over time. 

We can provide caregivers with improved ways to communicate with their loved ones and implement strategies in the home setting to improve safety, decrease anxiety, and improve the overall quality of life. 

Through therapy, we can improve an individual’s confidence and comfort using strategies to maintain independence, safety, and function. 

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, contact SSNR today to schedule an evaluation or in-home consultation. We personalize our therapy sessions to each individual’s needs and specific difficulties and provide support throughout the progression of functional changes.



 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2016b). Scope of practice in speech-language pathology [Scope of practice]. Retrieved from https://www.asha.org

American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA). (2018a). Practice Portal for Dementia, “Assessment” Accessed at https://www.asha.org/PRPSpecificTopic.aspx?folderid=8589935289&section=Assessment

Alzheimer’s Association (2018) (1). “Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures.” Accessed May 01, 2022, from https://www.alz.org/media/Documents/alzheimers-facts-and-figures-infographic.pdf

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