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HOME / people living with dementia / Managing symptoms and changes / 3.10 Speech and occupational therapy

3.10 Speech and occupational therapy

Speech and occupational therapy can help people maintain their independence and go about their daily activities more easily.

Speech therapy

Speech therapy is delivered by trained healthcare professionals known as speech language pathologists who help with a person’s ability to communicate. Speech therapy doesn’t just help with speech (e.g., pronunciation), but with all aspects of communication including expressing yourself and understanding others. Speech language pathologists can help with word-finding difficulties, when you have trouble telling a story, or following a conversation. They may work with your family and friends to improve two-way communication.  

There is growing research on the benefits of speech therapy to improve the communication of people with dementia. 

This link to Speech Audiology Canada explains more about what a speech pathologist does.

Occupational therapy

Occupational therapy is delivered by trained healthcare professionals known as occupational therapists who help people manage their everyday activities. For example, they might help a person practice taking public transport so that they are confident and safe getting to places on their own. They may help a person practice walking safely with their cane or walker outside the house, and practice carrying the groceries home after going to the store. They may also help people use their smartphone for navigation using a map app, or calling a driver using a rideshare app. 

Research studies consistently show that occupational therapy helps people with dementia keep doing things that are important to them and delays the need to go into a long-term care home. 

Learn more about how occupational therapists help older people here.

You can search for an occupational therapist in your area here.

Ask your doctor

  • Talk to your doctor about speech therapy or occupational therapy 

Try some strategies

  • Write down and try some suggested strategies to help you to be independent and safe when you are in public