How we can help people who have dementia

Dementia is a collective term for symptoms which range from memory loss, mood change, and problems with communication. These symptoms appear after damage to the brain through disease. Symptoms are progressive, meaning they worsen over time.

Speech and language therapy can benefit people with dementia. Speech and language therapy will help to maintain and support memory, communication, eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties.

What is dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe the symptoms which occur as a result of damage to the brain caused by certain diseases or small strokes. Dementia is progressive, which means that over time, symptoms will deteriorate. The rate at which dementia will deteriorate depends on which type and at what stage a person’s dementia is at. Severity will depend on:

Dementia mainly affects men and women over the age of 65 however occasionally younger people can have dementia.

What causes dementia?

The cause of dementia is damage to the brain; there are many different diseases that can cause this damage. The most common cause of dementia is old age.

Types of dementia

There are many different types of Dementia some of the most common forms of dementia include:

Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's is the most common disease to cause dementia. Short term memory problems are the early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

Vascular dementia

Vascular dementia is when the oxygen supply to the brain can be disrupted leading to some of the brain cells dying.

Lewy bodies dementia

Lewy bodies dementia is when abnormal cell structures develop in the nerve cells.

Fronto-temporal dementia

Fronto-temporal dementia is when personality and behaviour changes are most noticeable and problems start in the front of the brain.

How is dementia diagnosed?

Dementia is diagnosed by a medical professional, working within a multidisciplinary team and will take many different aspects into consideration. It may take a few assessments until a final diagnosis is given. The speech and language therapist plays a key role in assessing, identifying and treating individuals with dementia.

What problems caused by dementia can SLT UK help with?

There are many different problems which are caused by dementia which speech and language therapy can help with. Our speech and language therapists can help individuals who have dementia with attention and listening problems, communication problems, swallowing difficulties, voice and speech problems.

Speech and language therapy can improve any aspect of a patient's communication difficulties caused by dementia, it may also improve the coping strategies for the patient to support independence and confidence of the patient.

How does speech and language therapy help dementia?

Speech and language therapy helps people who suffer from dementia. Speech and language therapists can offer help and advice on language, communication, information processing, memory, as well as eating, drinking and swallowing guidelines. Speech and language therapy can include assessment and advice as well as support for the individual and their family.

What would speech and language therapy treatment for dementia involve?

Speech and language therapy treatment for dementia will involve a tailored speech and language therapy programme and will take into account the severity of the dementia. Speech and language therapy for dementia may involve assessment, reports, reviews, therapy programmes, support groups, advice and education.

There are many other approaches that may help dementia depending upon the individual and stage of the dementia. Some of these methods may be discussed in an initial appointment with the speech and language therapist.


Dementia is a collective term for symptoms which are caused by damage to the brain. The most common cause is Alzheimer's disease. Dementia mainly affects adults over the age of 65 however younger people can also be affected. Speech and language therapy can help with many different symptoms of dementia and can offer different ways of dealing with the symptoms of dementia as well as different approaches for families and carers.

If you feel you may benefit from speech and language therapy or would like any more information on our services please email or call 0330 088 5643.

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Worried about your communication?

If you are worried about any aspect of your speech, language and communication, do not hesitate to contact us to speak to one of our passionate speech and language therapists.

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We are able to provide therapy in a place and time that is most suitable for you and your needs, including home visits.

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We offer a free telephone consultation in order to discuss any concerns regarding your speech, language, voice or swallowing.


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