How to Care for an Aging Loved One with Aphasia

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Aphasia is a communication disorder that can be caused by a stroke, brain tumor, or dementia. Seniors who have aphasia usually have a difficult time speaking or understanding what others are saying to them. Even though caring for an individual who has aphasia might be frustrating at times, it isn’t an impossible task. With a little bit of patience and some hard work, you can make sure your senior loved one remains happy and healthy. Here are some ways you can care for a loved one with aphasia.

Contact a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP)

Aphasia produces many different symptoms, and your loved one will need to be evaluated by a speech-language pathologist before you come up with a long-term treatment plan. Some seniors who have this condition only have difficulty with certain words or phrases, while others can’t process complex sentences. An SLP can help you come up with a comprehensive rehabilitation plan that addresses your loved one’s unique symptoms. 

Apart from getting a SLP, you can also hire a dedicated caregiver for your loved one. When researching agencies that provide senior care, Des Moines, IA, families are usually looking for flexible care plans, compassionate and highly trained caregivers, and 24/7 availability. Whether you need respite care to take a break from your caregiving duties or your senior loved one needs around-the-clock assistance at home, you can rely on Home Care Assistance.

Keep Conversations Simple

Your loved one’s communication skills might get better at some point in the future, but you need to keep things simple until that time comes. As a general rule, you should only ask direct questions that have straightforward answers. Instead of asking what your loved one wants for dinner, ask if his or her favorite meal or dish sounds good. You also need to limit all distractions when having conversations. Aphasia often leads to frustration, and your loved one might tune you out if he or she becomes distracted. 

Aphasia is one of the many health issues your loved one may be facing. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional elder care. Des Moines families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.

Use Visual Aids Whenever Possible

One of the best ways to communicate with a senior who has aphasia is to use visual aids. Making those visual aids together might even be a good way to spend some time with each other. Having a few cards in your pocket with simple pictures like a toilet or glass of water could make your conversations less frustrating. Point at items as much as possible. Hand gestures are much easier to comprehend than verbalizations, and those movements may activate multiple areas of your loved one’s brain at the same time.

Don’t Shy Away from Technology

In addition to physical visual aids, you might want to take advantage of digital pictures as well. With a tablet or large smartphone, you can bring up images of almost any item imaginable. A few different companies have even made communication apps specifically for seniors who have aphasia. Those apps allow you to quickly pull up pictures as well as written statements. Some seniors who have aphasia can still communicate in writing even though speaking is a challenge.

Be Ready to Ask for Help

There may come a point when you realize you need help from a professional caregiver. No matter how much time and energy you’re willing to invest in your caregiving duties, this job can be tiresome and stressful. Being able to take a few hours off every week gives you time to relax and focus on your own wellbeing. Many professional caregivers have also been trained to work with seniors who have communication disorders.

Des Moines respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed. To find out more about how Home Care Assistance’s experienced and compassionate caregivers can provide comfort to your loved one, call (515) 264-2438 today.

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