Approximately two million people throughout the United States are living with a language disorder called aphasia. This condition stems from brain damage. While it most often occurs in those who have recently experienced a stroke, it can also come from brain tumors, brain disorders, and the lingering effects of traumatic brain injuries. However it developed, aphasia can lead to serious challenges and negative effects for your aging parent. Those who experience aphasia have difficulty communicating, or understanding communication. This can come in many forms, but is often seen as difficulty speaking. An elderly person may also have trouble understanding words that are spoken to them. Learning to communicate with your aging parent as they live with aphasia is a very important step in maintaining the effectiveness of your care journey, preserving the meaning and bond of your relationship, and supporting your parent’s mental and emotional health and well-being.
Use these tips to communicate effectively with a senior living with aphasia:
- Be sure to get your parent’s attention and ensure they are focused on you before you start talking to them.
- Pay close attention to any body language and gestures your parent uses. These can help you better understand what they are feeling, or what they are trying to express, even if they are not speaking clearly or making sense.
- Use your own body language and gestures carefully. Remember they may not understand the words you’re saying, and could be relying on those gestures to understand you.
- Don’t elevate your volume or speak extra slowly unless your parent asks you to speak up or slow down. Speaking too loudly or too slowly can actually be more confusing and difficult for your parent to understand.
- Don’t speak too quickly. Make an effort to speak at a normal or slightly slower than normal pace.
- Avoid long sentences.
- Ask yes or no questions and respond with simple answers for your parent.
- Be patient when waiting for your parent to reply. It will likely to take them longer to formulate what they want to say and then express it. Don’t try to rush them, finish their sentences, or offer them words.
- If your parent is having difficulty understanding you, try writing your message down or drawing a picture.
- Encourage your parent to use other forms of communication to reply to you.
- Be flexible and willing to go along with your parent even when they make mistakes. Work on interpreting what they say rather than expecting perfect communication every time.
Loneliness and isolation are issues that can have very serious implications for your aging parent. Many elderly adults face not having the social interaction and opportunities they did when they were younger. Communication issues such as language disorders like aphasia can make it even more difficult to get this support and interaction. Your parent might be embarrassed or not feel as though they can engage in these interactions effectively. This is one way that senior care can make a tremendous difference in your parent’s life. A senior home care services provider can offer your parent ongoing companionship that allows them to interact, makes them feel acknowledged and heard, and even supports their efforts to communicate and to find alternative means of communication, so they can express themselves more confidently.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Crawfordville, FL, please call the caring staff at Hopewell In-Home Senior Care today at 850-386-5552. Providing Senior Care Services in North Florida