Aphasia is a common condition that affects seniors who have had a stroke. Most often, seniors with aphasia have trouble producing language, misunderstand language, and sometimes have trouble with reading and writing. Providing post-stroke home care for a loved one who has difficulty with speech and communication can be emotionally difficult and frustrating for both parties. In honor of National Aphasia Awareness Month, here are some tips to improve daily communication.
1. Help your loved one focus by reducing distractions. When you are trying to communicate, turn off the TV, radio, or move to a quieter room.
2. Do not treat your loved one like a child. Use adult language and do not pretend to understand when you don’t.
3. Make questions easy to answer. Phrase questions so your loved one can respond with a “yes” or “no,” and avoid giving too many choices.
4. Encourage other ways for your loved one to communicate. Sometimes using hand gestures, pointing, or drawing can be even more effective and less frustrating than trying to speak.
5. Involve your loved one in conversations. Maintain eye contact during a conversation, and be sure your loved one understands what is being discussed. Ask family members and other part-time caregivers to speak directly to your loved one as well.
6. Give your loved one time to respond. After you ask a question, it may take several minutes for him or her to process what you’re saying and respond.
7. Speak with a normal volume and tone. Your loved one’s intelligence is not affected by aphasia, so avoid yelling or ignoring him or her altogether.
8. Consider professional speech therapy. A speech therapist can work with your loved one along with the rest of the family to improve communication. The sooner speech therapy is started, the easier it is to help your loved one retain and improve communication abilities.
For help managing your loved one’s care needs after a stroke, turn to Home Care Assistance in Denver. Our hourly and live-in caregivers can help with grocery shopping, running errands, meal preparation and cooking, light housekeeping, physical assistance, and offer emotional support during the recovery process. Call (720) 443-3371 today and speak with a trusted Care Manager to learn more.