Aphasia is the term used to describe a condition that prevents older adults from effectively communicating. They may understand speech but cannot correctly express their thoughts, and they might also have difficulty understanding speech. The disorder develops secondary to many different medical conditions, including strokes. Sometimes the ability to communicate returns, while other times it does not. Family members must learn all they can about their senior loved one’s condition to prepare for the proper care needs. Here are some ways you can provide high-quality care for a parent with aphasia.
Try Speech Therapy
Once aphasia develops, physicians often recommend consulting with a speech therapist. Ongoing sessions boost the ability to communicate. A therapist may be able to help your loved one relearn speech. Therapists commonly also teach affected seniors how to use alternative means of communication through gestures, picture boards, or by typing on a keyboard. Your loved one must continue therapy appointments until they are no longer needed. If your parent’s ability to speak is not expected to return, a therapist may prove instrumental in teaching sign language.
Apart from speech therapy, your parent may need help with other aspects of daily life. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality senior care, Wellesley Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.
A senior with aphasia may only be able to initially answer yes or no questions and try to gesture wants or needs. However, it may take time to decipher his or her form of nonverbal communication. Take the time to understand what your loved one is trying to express. In time, communication becomes more natural as you both adjust to the situation.
Your parent might rely on gestures or other forms of communication, so be compassionate and understanding and allow him or her time to make the effort. If your loved one is in the process of relearning to speak, resist the urge to finish his or her sentences or interrupt him or her. Allow time to convey what he or she wants you to know. Don’t get in a hurry and make decisions for your loved one without asking his or her opinion. Not being able to speak doesn’t mean your loved one doesn’t have intelligent thoughts and feelings.
Seniors with aphasia may initially be reluctant to be around other people due to the embarrassment of not being able to communicate. However, researchers recommend not drawing back into isolation. Your loved one might initially be willing to meet with one other person outside of the family. From there, work to broaden your parent’s social opportunities.
If you’re unable to help your parent socialize due other responsibilities, opt for professional home care. For families living in Wellesley, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.
Address Emotional Setbacks
Whether your loved one has had a stroke or lost communication abilities due to another condition, expect him or her to become frustrated, angry, or depressed at times. Part of the problem lies in the damage to the brain. However, emotions may boil over as your loved one grieves over the loss and relearns how to express him or herself. You can help by being supportive and loving.
Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Wellesley seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. To find out more about how Home Care Assistance’s home care services can benefit your loved one, call (781) 239-0060 today to speak with a friendly and experienced Care Manager.