Dementia is the decreased ability to use certain cognitive, or thinking, and language skills due to changes in the brain. Dementia can affect memory, problem-solving, ability to pay attention, and ability to plan. Dementia can make daily tasks more difficult and people with dementia may require more assistance to complete tasks such as cooking, cleaning, paying bills, and performing job functions. 

What causes Dementia? 

A variety of brain conditions can cause dementia. Causes can include Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Lewy body dementia, and degeneration of the brain.  

What are the symptoms of Dementia? 

Changes in memory are often associated with dementia, but there are other symptoms the can occur with dementia as well. These include changes in the ability to use and understand language, pay attention to one task and/or difficulty with multi-tasking, complete tasks that require multiple steps, and to think critically and use reasoning skills. Symptoms of dementia may appear slowly and get worse over time. People with dementia may also notice changes in their ability to swallow foods, liquids, and/or pills.  

When is speech therapy recommended for Dementia? 

Speech therapy is recommended whenever changes in language or thinking abilities are noticed. Therapy is appropriate both in early and later stages of dementia.  

What does therapy for Dementia involve? 

Therapy for dementia focuses on the needs and wants of the patient and family. Therapy can help improve memory using memory exercises and strategies. Therapy can also help the client with other cognitive skills including attention, problem-solving, and planning. Therapy often also consists of working on everyday skills used by the client to help them be as independent and safe as possible.