Communicating with aphasia

If your loved one suddenly developed difficulty with speaking, he or she probably has aphasia, typically from a stroke or traumatic brain injury.

Slow or garbled speech can be frustrating for everyone. Recovery is enhanced by following the advice of speech and occupational therapists. Your support is invaluable in terms of bolstering self-worth and confidence.

these aphasia communication tips:

  • Remove distractions. Turn off the
    TV or radio. Move to a room that is quiet.
  • Allow time. It takes more effort to organize thoughts and
    form words.
  • Let them find the right words. Filling in and
    guessing what is meant may seem helpful. It actually undermines self-esteem.
  • Listen patiently. Communication
    is more than an exchange of facts. It’s a way to express personality and
    competence. As a listener, relate as if you have all the time in the world.
  • Confirm your understanding. Repeat back
    what you think was said.
  • Keep it simple. Speak in short
    sentences. Avoid a long string of ideas or requests.
  • Consider
    are many mobile- and tablet-based apps for aphasia. Some provide assistance
    with speech exercises. Others offer symbols your relative can point to instead
    of speaking. Some even help your loved one stay engaged with others by sending
    emails and texts based on the symbols!

Create a Communication Card
To help your relative stay engaged and be independent, create a “business card” he or she can pass to waiters, receptionists, merchants, or service providers. Personalize it appropriately:

  • I have aphasia: I have
    trouble speaking.
  • No need to shout: I am not
  • I do not have dementia: I think very
  • Please be patient: Give me time
    to find my words.

Is communication difficult?
You are not alone in feeling frustrated. As the Metro DC experts in family caregiving, we at Debra Levy Eldercare Associates can help you and your loved one find easier ways to continue relating even in the face of aphasia. Give us a call at 301-593-5285. Let’s start the conversation.