A stroke can leave elderly people with plenty of physical challenges that they must work hard to overcome or compensate for. In many cases, there are speech and language changes that elderly stroke survivors are left with. One of the more common communication problems is stroke-related aphasia. When doctors and therapists present this diagnosis, many family caregivers aren’t sure what it means and what to expect for their aging loved one.
Here are some frequently asked questions about stroke-related aphasia:
Q: What exactly is stroke-related aphasia?
A: When part of the left side of the brain is damaged (the part that controls speech and language), it affects the person’s ability to speak, listen, read or write. It’s not a disease, but a result of the stroke.
Q: Are there different levels of stroke-related aphasia?
A: Everyone with stroke-related aphasia can experience it in different and unique ways, but in general, aphasia is divided into several types. Some people are able to understand others but can’t create speech within themselves. Others can see and hear language all around them but simply cannot understand the words, much like being immersed in foreign country. Still others substitute works for others, making their speech nonsensical to listeners. In extreme cases, stroke-related aphasia leaves victims without the ability to read, write, speak or understand others.
Q: Is stroke-related aphasia permanent?
A: Many stroke survivors recover from their aphasia condition with a lot of help from speech therapists. Over the past several decades, they have developed focused techniques on how to positively affect those with stroke-related aphasia. Treatments include art therapy, group therapy, singing, and more typical speech therapy. Some stroke survivors do not recover their language skills, even after therapy.
Q: What myths are there about stroke-related aphasia?
A: Many people mistakenly think that lack of language skills somehow means a lack of cognition or intelligence, but aphasia doesn’t affect the brain that way. Stroke survivors with aphasia still think the same, they simply can’t express themselves the same way. Their hearing is not affected, so others don’t need to increase the volume of their speech. Aphasia interferes with the communication and language parts of the brain, preventing victims from full participation in conversations.
Q: How can family caregivers, family members and senior care assistants communicate with elderly people who have aphasia?
A: When an elderly loved one has aphasia, typical communication is blocked so their caregivers must rely on non-verbal communication. Tips include keeping sentences simple, using a normal tone and volume of voice, encourage the use of gestures and drawings, ask yes or no questions, slow down their rate of speaking and praise any effort to communicate traditionally.
Q: What could family caregivers, relatives and senior care aides do at home to help with recovery?
A: As the elderly person goes through therapy for aphasia, family caregivers can do a lot at home to support them. Reading out loud, singing, playing word games, and encouraging them to speak or read are all things they can do to create a safe space for elderly loved ones to regain communication skills.
If You Or An Aging Loved One Are Considering Hiring Senior Care in Seminole, FL, Please Contact The Caring Staff At Assisting Hands Home Care Today! 727-748-4211.