As the brain is damaged by a traumatic injury, brain tumors, or effects of a stroke, aphasia sets in. This leads to difficulties communicating thoughts and feelings. In a senior, you’ll often see aphasia following a stroke or the brain deterioration caused by Alzheimer’s. It’s very common with the National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Strokes putting current U.S. estimates at about one million people.
Main symptoms of aphasia are difficulty finding the right word or understanding dialogue when it’s spoken fast. Someone with aphasia may struggle to read, write, and handle simple math functions like counting money. If you take your mom shopping and she can’t write a check or count out the right amount of cash, aphasia may be to blame.
What Should You Do?
If your mom or dad has a form of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s, it’s likely that aphasia will set in. If the symptoms are new to you, contact a doctor. Your parent should have a health check to look for signs of a stroke, tumor, or dementia. If your parent has recently fallen, there may be a brain injury that needs to be diagnosed and treated.
A speech-language pathologist may be called in to do an evaluation. The evaluation will look at your mom or dad’s ability to comprehend words, follow directions, or have a conversation with that pathologist. Your parent may be asked to name the day of the week, write some letters, and jot down some words. All of this will help the doctor better understand how developed the aphasia is and better know what therapy can help with language comprehension and communication skills.
What Can You Do at Home?
If you need to talk to your mom or dad, make sure they are looking at you and not distracted by something in the room. Turn off the TV or radio. Limit the words you use and speak slowly and clearly. If aphasia worsens, stick to simple yes and no questions to make answering easier to accomplish.
You should never scold your parent for not getting something right. You also shouldn’t comment that you’ll never understand and give up. Your parent needs to be able to communicate his or her thoughts without feeling ashamed or embarrassed. Let your parent take as much time as needed to get his or her message across.
You will need breaks from time to time. Be sure to talk to a home care agency about having caregivers available for respite. Caregivers can help take care of your mom or dad while you go out and do something fun. You’ll return home feeling refreshed and relaxed.
When you are in need of care for a senior loved one, consider home care provided by Golden Heart Senior Care. We have offices nationwide. For more information, call us today at (800) 601-2792.