Germany, Leipzig, Man on wheelchair, talking with woman
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With a majority of older adults potentially experiencing some form of language or hearing disorder, speech therapy is an important component of senior living and care management. 

Therefore, having access to virtual speech therapy looms as an important aspect of the growth of telehealth use within long-term care. 

A new partnership between Great Speech, a virtual speech therapy platform, and American TelePhysicians, a large telehealth provider, expands offerings of speech therapy programs for older adults. The companies announced the agreement earlier this week.

Some common conditions among seniors that affect communication include Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, traumatic brain injury and Parkinson’s disease. 

Great Speech will fall under the umbrella of TelePhysicians NeuroX program. The agreement between Great Speech and NeuroX will allow for faster neurological assessments and diagnoses, which could expedite access to Great Speech’s virtual tools, the companies stated.

“Great Speech brings crucial speech and language therapy for patients with aphasia and other speech problems,” NeuroX chief medical officer Muhammad Farooq, MD, said in a statement. “Our team is passionate about comprehensive patient care, and that includes communication recovery. We are pleased to be working with Great Speech to improve our patients’ quality of life.”

Virtual or online programs aimed at seniors with language issues have been growing for several years now. One earlier virtual therapy program from Northwestern University helps seniors with dementia recall “lost” words.

Even after the pandemic, senior living and care spaces increasingly are relying on telehealth options, the use of which can decrease the need for in-person follow-up appointments. Telehealth use has been projected to grow by 80% between 2021 and 2025.

Other new technologies also are trying to tackle senior speech issues, such as a smartphone app that helps complete or modify sentences for people living with dementia.