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Communication and Aphasia: Tips for Caregivers

The number of people living with aphasia is expected to rise as the amount of senior adults in the population continues to increase. The communication barriers experienced by seniors with aphasia can be frustrating for both seniors and their caregivers. Although anyone providing in-home care in Tracy will be required to exercise a great deal of patience as he or she encourages seniors to communicate, these tips can help ease frustration for seniors who struggle with speech, comprehension and writing.

Practice Clarity in Communication
• Choose simple words and sentence structures
• Use questions that require only a yes or no answer
• Avoid using a patronizing tone–aphasia does not affect intelligence
• Remain calm and patient even in the face of frustration
• Limit distractions

Use Visual Cues
• Use body language, such as pointing, to make the message clearer
• Drawings and pictures can provide additional cues to aid comprehension
• Begin an action as you are describing what is happening
• Use calendars and charts to organize information during communication

Ease Frustration
• Allow extra time for your senior loved one to communicate
• Avoid correcting his or her speech
• Take breaks during the conversation if possible
• Avoid difficult conversations when your loved one is tired

Incorporate Technology
• Encourage your elderly relative to use a mouse to point to a word or image instead of talking
• Try typing a word on a screen that can be read as you speak
• Show pictures of friends and family to build encouragement

In addition to these tips that can help with daily life, seniors with aphasia also benefit from having a wide network of support. Whether caregivers offer part-time hourly care or comprehensive live-in dementia care, every caregiver should work carefully with speech therapists and other specialists who can help improve communication. Those who are caring for a loved one with aphasia will also find that respite care from another caregiver can provide an opportunity for relaxation that can enhance future care endeavors and communication.

Whatever the cause of your loved one’s aphasia, if you need additional support meeting his or her care needs or could benefit from a period of respite, Home Care Assistance can help. We are the trusted choice for stroke, dementia, and Alzheimer’s care in Tracy, CA. Our highly trained and experienced caregivers can provide exceptional care for your loved one and you can take the time you need to regroup and recharge. Call our office today at (209) 650-8500 to learn more about our services.