Aphasia is language and speech disorder problem that generally occur in older adults due to a number of health issues. These patients have difficulty with finding and organizing the proper terms to express their thoughts, recognizing what others are saying during a conversation, problem in reading handwritten materials etc. It is important to remember that even though your elderly relatives are struggling with Aphasia symptoms, they retain their cognitive functions, intelligence, and ability to think, perceive and understand situations. Apart from their difficulty with these situations, you may have to deal with their frustration due to anguish, stress, and anger.
Different Types of Aphasia Disorders
There are different types of Aphasia causing mild to severe impairment in old age patients.
Expressive Aphasia: Patients with this sort of aphasia disorder has problems in saying what he wants. The person can think but cannot communicate with others to express his thoughts. Depending upon the level of the expressive aphasia in elderly problem and their dependence on others, you can consider the caregiving provisions. This is particularly inevitable for families where members may need to stay out of the house for long hours due to various commitments.
Anomic Aphasia: Elderly people with anomic aphasia have problems in finding the suitable words while talking and writing.
Receptive Aphasia: The receptive aphasia causes problems in understanding the piece of words the person is reading or hearing from others. He is able to receive but has difficulty in recognizing words and lacks proper expression as a result.
Progressive Aphasia: In progressive aphasia patients, the loss of ability to read, write, comprehend and talk occurs gradually with passing time.
Global Aphasia: This type of aphasia is generally evident in stroke patients. There are complications in reading, writing, speaking and recognizing words.
Causes of Aphasia in Elderly Patients
Aphasia symptoms may emerge or worsen with time in elderly patients due to several reasons. The common causes of developing this sort of speech disorder complications include:
- Brain injury due to an accident or falling
- Damage in the brain parts regulating language and speech control
- Brain infection
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Brain tumor
- Neurological disorders
How do you know that your elderly relative is struggling with Aphasia disorder?
If your elderly parent or grandparent is suffering from aphasia disorder, you will notice some common symptoms like difficulty in speaking, having problems in using the right word during a conversation, etc. You may also realize that the senior person is using irrelevant words while speaking. Some patients may also encounter problems in understanding what people around are trying to say. Under such circumstances, the patient may feel discomfort in a social environment, crowd, and loud noises. Other problems that may persist include difficulty in reading especially handwritten pieces, doing calculations, and others.
Treatment and Caring for Elderly Aphasia Patients
The treatment and elderly care for Aphasia patients will depend upon the specific problems. If they are lacking self-expression, do not dissociate from them. The caregiver has an added responsibility to understand what the person requires at any particular moment. In some cases such as tumors and infection in the brain, the surgery and medical treatment can be helpful in eliminating the problem. The National Stroke Association has provided some guidelines for the patients with global aphasia. The caregivers and family members can use props to give a massage therapy. It is very important to remain patient while communicating with these patients. Talk slowly and try to take note of all the responses to understand what the individual is trying to say.
Are you facing problems with caring of aphasia in elderly patients at home? If so, contact Dearest Home for more details to chalk out an effective solution.