Tips for Dealing with Dysarthria in an Aging Parent

Elderly Care in LaVista NE

Elderly Care in LaVista NEDysarthria—difficult or unclear speech—is due to impaired function with the muscles that help you speak. Any or all of these muscles may be affected: lips, tongue, vocal folds and diaphragm. Dependent on which muscles are affected will determine the severity. It is a common symptom associated with Parkinson’s and other forms of dementia in the later stages as well as stroke, tumors, and multiple sclerosis.

Getting Help from a Speech-language Pathologist

A speech-language pathologist can help by evaluating your parent and determining the severity by observing movement of associated muscles as well as breath support. Once determined, they will develop a treatment plan specific for your parent which can include:

  • Strengthening muscles and increasing tone and movement by exaggerating muscle movement.
  • Improving breath support to increase volume.
  • Slowing down their rate of speech and bringing awareness to lip and tongue movements associated with speech.

As a Family Caregiver

Watching your loved one’s diminishing ability to communicate can be disheartening. Consider this challenge another learning experience for you and your parent. Learning is always easier when there is a fun factor. Alternate communication forms are used to enhance their ability to get across the message they are trying to articulate. Electronic communication aids can be as simple as facial gestures, hand gestures, and communication boards with letters and numbers or dry erase boards. Your parent may be struggling, but try to keep the mood as light as possible without negating their feelings.

Using electronic communication aids can put their mind on the aid and off of the effort it is taking them to talk.

  • Megabee is an electronic tablet that uses eye movement and blinking in order to select specific letters or phrases which are then displayed on the screen.
  • Smartphones that combine voice output apps such as Speak It, Small for Aphasia, Locabulary and Proloquo2go.
  • Computers with voice output software.

In addition to high tech gadgets, these specific strategies that will help with communication:

  • Diminish background noise such as TV and other people.
  • Keep your attention, and your parent’s, focused on the conversation at hand.
  • Be patient. Allow them to complete their sentence as best they can and do not interrupt or try to finish their sentences for them.
  • Be positive. Praise instead of criticize.
  • Keep them engaged in the family group conversations.

Elderly Care Provider

If you have not already obtained the services of an elderly care provider, now may be the time to consider this option. These professionals have cared for many seniors facing issues such as these. They understand communication options and have the patience to take the time to sit with them and work together with a technical device or using some of the simpler means of communication.


If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in LaVista, NE, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors® Greater Omaha at (402) 215-0308 today.

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