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What You Need to Know About Caring for Seniors with Aphasia

By Kevin McClarren, 9:00 am on

Providing home care in Warren for a senior loved one can be challenging regardless of his or her health. However, there are certain conditions that present additional challenges because they create communication barriers that can be frustrating for both the senior and the caregiver. Aphasia is one of the more common examples.

What Is Aphasia?

Aphasia is a communication disorder. Seniors with the condition may have trouble expressing themselves, understanding others, and comprehending written words and numbers. Strokes are a common cause of aphasia among seniors, though they are not the only cause. It is important to remember the condition affects the ability to communicate but does not affect intelligence.

How Aphasia Can Affect the Elderly

It is normal for seniors with aphasia to become frustrated or angry over their inability to communicate basic feelings, wants, and needs. Your loved one may know the right words in his or her brain, but cannot get them to come out the way he or she wants. Seniors with aphasia are at increased risk for social isolation out of fear others may think of them as unintelligent or incompetent.

Conquering the Challenges of Aphasia

A major obstacle for Warren caregivers is ensuring their loved ones maintain their social circles. Starting with small one-on-one encounters with close friends and family can help ease your loved one’s self-consciousness. You can move on to larger group settings as your loved one gains confidence in his or her abilities. Speech therapy can be a valuable tool in helping your loved one relearn communication skills. A good speech therapist will use a variety of tools such as gestures, picture books, and props to help your loved one verbalize his or her thoughts and feelings. You should encourage your loved one to continue with therapy even if he or she becomes frustrated.

Some Tips for Communication

  • Always speak in a normal tone and volume to avoid sounding patronizing
  • Try to use yes or no questions and simple sentence structures
  • Turn off televisions and radios when speaking to limit distractions
  • Be patient, and allow your loved one extra time to form words and respond to your questions
  • Use alternative communication techniques like gestures, pictures, and electronic gadgets to make your message clearer

Aphasia often accompanies conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Much like those disorders, the symptoms of aphasia can sometimes be alleviated through cognitive stimulation. Home Care Assistance has developed a program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method, which uses activities to slow cognitive decline and help boost language and communication skills. In addition to the dementia and Alzheimer’s home care Warren families trust, we also offer specialized care for seniors with Parkinson’s and those who have experienced a stroke. For more information and to schedule a no-obligation consultation, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at 908.450.9400 today.