Elder Care Observances: National Aphasia Awareness Month

Elder Care in Suwanee, GA

One of the greatest challenges you face as a family caregiver is encountering sudden changes in your elderly loved ones’ health. While you know you stepped into the role as a caregiver because your parents’ were coping with physical, mobility, mental, or emotional challenges, it can be difficult to face sudden increases in these needs. By educating yourself about these challenges and preparing yourself for handling them effectively, you can improve the care you offer your loved ones and give them the highest quality of life possible even as they face these increased challenges.

This June, join with the rest of the elder care community and educate yourself about a particular health challenge many older adults face during National Aphasia Awareness Month. Aphasia can occur to anyone after an injury to the parts of the brain that control language, but is particularly prevalent in older adults who have suffered a stroke. This communication disorder makes it difficult or even impossible for the affected person to properly understand and use words. Though the disorder has no impact on the person’s intellectual ability, the communication challenges can make him feel “dumb” or disconnected from the people around him.

Seniors suffering from aphasia exhibit a variety of symptoms ranging from the minor to the debilitating, including:

  • Difficulty finding the correct words when having a conversation
  • Feeling like a word is “at the tip of their tongues”, but not being able to bring the word forward
  • Issues converting their thoughts to actual verbal or written communication
  • Challenges understanding or following a conversation
  • Challenges with reading comprehension
  • Inability to properly communicate through writing or to remember how to write words
  • Difficulty remembering how to write numbers
  • Difficulty understanding what once-familiar words mean

Up to 40 percent of older adults who survive a stroke will develop some degree of aphasia, but there is not just one type of this condition. The impairment associated with each of these types varies and it is important to identify the specific type your elderly loved one is experiencing in order to develop a management plan you, your seniors, and their elderly health care services provider can maintain together.

The types of aphasia include:

  • Primary progressive aphasia
  • Global aphasia
  • Expressive aphasia
  • Anomic aphasia
  • Receptive aphasia

If your elderly loved ones have suffered a stroke or other form of brain injury and you notice that they are suddenly having difficulty communicating properly, get in touch with their physician so you can discuss your concerns about their symptoms and have them properly diagnosed. This enables the physician to work with you and your elderly parents to develop a course of treatment.

Some of the ways you can help your seniors manage their communication difficulties include:

• Speak calmly, clearly, and slowly when talking with your parents, and encourage them to speak in the same way. This can make it easier for their brain to process the words and either interpret or form them properly

• Use visual aids such as props or pictures when trying to relay a message that uses words they have difficulty understanding or saying

• Let them communicate by drawing pictures, writing out words, or gesturing to supplement what they are saying.

If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Suwanee, GA, contact the caring staff at Trumark Home Care. Call today (678) 820-6407.