Aegis Therapies has added speech/language therapy to its other services offered at SunPorch of Dodge City.

According to Aegis Therapies state director Sheila Bills, the new service is meant to help elders communicate their wants and needs more clearly.

The support of a speech/language pathologist will assist in alleviating such common problems as swallowing difficulties and dementia-related issues.

"Torrie (Smith) and Sydnee (Cole) are available to assess, diagnose and treat issues related to swallowing, dementia and other concerns," said Bills, who also is an SLP. "They are trained in dysphagia, which refers to swallowing disorders.

"When someone has difficulty swallowing, it takes more time and effort to move food or liquid to the stomach safely."

According to Bills, causes of dysphagia include aging, limited motor functions, lack of adequate sensation in the throat and various inadequacies with the swallowing mechanism.

An SLP provides re-education in language skills and auditory processing, when dementia is the issue.

"Tasks involving recall and retention help the patient improve in areas of general knowledge, immediate memory skills and problem solving," Bills said. "The goal is to help the person better communicate wants, needs and concerns."

Conditions involving hearing, articulation, coordination of breathing with speaking and swallowing, and skills for everyday living are some other areas an SLP will treat.

"The addition of SLP services at SunPorch demonstrates that its staff members are very progressive in making sure elders are number one," Bills said. "They realize that speech/language therapy is very important and will do all they can to enhance the elders’ quality of life. Speech therapy plays a big role in this."

SunPorch marketing and community liaison Debbie Allen added, "speech therapy has been hard to come by in smaller communities. We are very fortunate to be able to provide this service to our elders.

"It is a great addition to our in-house therapy department, especially for those who have dementia or are recovering from a stroke. All of us appreciate our new partnership with Aegis Therapies."


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