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My mom has had dementia for several years. She is now having a difficult time finding her words. Because of this I find that she is speaking less. Will speech therapy help?

As I understand it, speech therapists work with their patients on physiological and psychological impairments and obstacles. Your mother's difficulties are cognitive in origin. So I shouldn't have thought speech therapy would be able to do anything for her.

Having said that, it probably wouldn't hurt to try; and as an added bonus a qualified SLT can monitor swallowing reflexes, too. Just watch out in case your mother is demoralised or confused by the exercises, and be ready to call a halt.

What really might help her, though, is "singing for the brain." Music seems to use a different pathway and people are able to recollect lyrics with tunes long after they have started having difficulty with spoken language.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Has your Mom been evaluated for a TIA or a stroke? Is your Mom also having trouble chewing her food, or having trouble with swallowing food or liquids? Speech therapy may help, but only the person who evaluates your Mom can tell you whether speech therapy will be helpful. Talk to your Doctor and ask him/her for a Speech Evaluation. Hopefully having Speech Therapy will help your Mom. Good Luck and God Bless.
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Reply to DeeAnna
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No. Speech Therapy is more for disorders like dysphagia, stroke - where the person learns to use the throat muscles again.

Memory care might help the memory - I don't know about that - but my husband had dysphagia and the speech therapy helped him to swallow and to speak clearly.
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Reply to RayLinStephens
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I think what happened with my Husband was this...And he never was a talker so this may or may not be happening with your Mom.
As the Dementia progressed and he found it difficult to find the words he wanted he just talked less and less. This might have to do with being afraid that others will notice that "there is something" wrong or embarrassed about the confusion.
There were some things he would say but mostly he pointed or when he was more mobile he would just walk in the direction he wanted to go.
As the Dementia progressed even more I just simply took care of his needs and he accepted that although he always was an easy to please guy.

And if you find yourself "helping" her with words like finishing a sentence or giving her the right word she is looking for she may figure why bother talking if "they" are just going to talk for me.
As frustrating as it might be sometimes let her finish what she wants to say. If it makes sense great, if it doesn't that's fine as well. But don't say..."that makes no sense at all, what are you talking about" .. as that will discourage further conversation.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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No amount of therapy will restore lost cognition.
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Reply to drooney
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I went through this with my sister, who had MS . . .loss of speech cognizance is common. What she needs is constant VERBAL communication with people who will speak with her and keep her mind active. This is not dementia, but a neurological deterioration that cannot be corrected. However, when I was with my sister on rare occasions, I noticed that her 'memory' improved over the days I was there talking with her on a regular basis. Perhaps old-age dementia might be different, but when my MIL reached 95 and was having troubles carrying on the simplest of conversations, just being with her gave her the ability to express herself quite clearly. Only someone who is there on a regular basis can be the serious determinate-or of how the "deterioration" continues. Remember, the patient wants to communicate. . . listen -- and encourage!
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Reply to LadyAyeAye
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Every person’s AD or dementia journey is different. There is no harm in trying. For my mother speech therapy has been a good experience. I don’t honestly know whether it “helped” her speak better, but it is something she enjoys. And by us being in the room during the sessions, it enabled us to communicate with her better, using some of the techniques the therapist taught (e.g. word association, picture recognition, etc). It also enabled my mother to ask for help with words when she wants the help. So it depends on three things: the person giving the therapy, the person receiving the therapy, and whether they gel. Wishing you the best.
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Reply to MelissaPA2AZ
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Sorry to say it will only get worse. My mom hardly talks now but occasionally she will say good morning or good night when I say it to her. Every night when I tuck her in bed I say "I love you" and on the rare occasion she will actually say "I love you too" and it is a bright spot for my day. Sometimes she gets talkative for a short time and she will just say words like they mean something. I just say ok and say something back like I understood. Every now and then she will say "Thank you" when I help her with something. She is very hard of hearing as well so I am sure that adds to her lack of communication.
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Reply to Nolagal
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My Mom has the same difficulty finding words and often substitutes others. She will say coffee when she means tea. Or, sometimes word fail her completely.

A neuro-psychiatric evaluation helped to identify what parts of my mother’s brain functions were affected by her dementia.

It was a thorough process conducted by a neurologist and her team.

The neurologist can also explain the findings to you which will help you understand your mother’s condition better, and be a better advocate for her needs.

I agree with what others have said about positive benefits of speech therapy.

All best to you and your mother.
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Reply to Gardens
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I don't believe she has had a stroke as she has no trouble chewing or swallowing food. Fortunately, she still has a great appetite. This evening was wonderful, she spoke just as clear as she always did. However, I will definitely take your advise and ask her doctor for a speech evaluation. Thank you.
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Reply to janlm109
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