June is National Aphasia Awareness Month, and the goal is to raise awareness for the condition and educate family members and patients with the condition on the latest in treatment options. Any family caregivers that have an elderly relative living with aphasia can get more information about how they can support them and provide help.
Aphasia is a disorder that affects a person’s ability to communicate. Elderly adults are most likely to develop aphasia as the most common effect from strokes. In most cases, the effects of aphasia are so severe that seniors can no longer live independently and must rely on family caregivers and home care providers.
All About Aphasia
Aphasia is the name for the communication disorder that inhibits someone’s ability to process speech and written language. Their ability to both communicate and understand language can be impacted. The majority of seniors who develop aphasia have had a stroke, which can trigger all kinds of communication disorders.
Other causes are the advanced stage of Alzheimer’s disease, acute brain injuries and brain infections. Because the center of language and communication is the brain, any condition that causes damage to it may result in aphasia. Unfortunately, there is no cure for aphasia but sometimes through speech and language therapy, elderly adults are able to regain some comprehension and communication skills. Family caregivers and home care providers must learn how to help aging adults that develop aphasia.
Symptoms of Aphasia
There are many facets to aphasia and not every elderly adult will experience the same set of symptoms. So much depends on the severity of the stroke, other chronic conditions, previous cognitive ability and more. Here are some of the more common symptoms of aphasia:
- Struggle to say the right words
- Speaking or writing with grammatical errors
- Omitting smaller words like “and” and “the”
- Speaking or writing words out of order
- Making up words
- Inability to understand spoken words
- Difficulty following fast speech
- Swapping letters or words when writing
- Writing nonsense words
- Inability to read written material
- Trouble in sounding out words or phrases
- Skipping over small words like “and” and “the” when reading
How to Help Seniors With Aphasia
Elderly adults can get help for their aphasia by working regularly with a speech and language therapist. They can work on different techniques to help recall words and trigger language recognition. Seniors may also be struggling with the physical after effects of the stroke and cannot care for themselves independently. Family caregivers should definitely look into hiring a home care provider to visit the home regularly and assist with tasks like bathing, dressing, pet care, meal prep and companionship.
With a strong support network consisting of family caregivers, family members, friends, community resources and home care providers, elderly adults with aphasia can make great strides in boosting their quality of life. Family caregivers should take advantage of National Aphasia Awareness Month to find resources, support groups and more so they can help their aging loved one.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Naples FL, call the caring staff at Dial-a-Nurse today. Naples: (239) 307-0033. Ft. Myers: (239) 307-0065.
In 1995 he became Administrator of Dial-a-Nurse nursing agency, the oldest nursing agency in the Southwest Florida succeeding his mother who started the company 37 years ago. He is also President of Nevco, Inc., an educational healthcare training company begun in 1988.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce on various Missions to improve the quality of life around the world by development of supportive healthcare programs. In 2005 he traveled with U.S. officials and addressed the Italian National Government assisting in the creation of Nurse Education mandates for that Country. In 2006 he was invited and spoke with the National Institutes of Continuing Education in Eastern Europe on healthcare education and developmental mandates, and most recently represented the United States at the European Union in Lake Balaton, Hungary in 2011. In 2014 he traveled with the U.S. Department of State to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in an effort to improve caregiver knowledge and training.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with a number of non-profits in contributing and creating curriculum to improve the quality of life in third-world countries since 2001, and notably created a successful program in Odessa, India that has been modeled in other areas of the world. In his backyard, he has worked with local Goodwill Industries to provide curriculum and training to underserved individuals who have obtained employment as a result of educational training. He was the Congressional appointment to the Governor's purple ribbon task force in 2013, and has worked to educate caregivers in all aspects of Alzheimer's training.