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Understanding Aphasia

Understanding Aphasia

June is Aphasia Awareness Month, and the Columbus senior care experts at Home Care Assistance would like to devote this blog to sharing relevant information on the somewhat common communication disorder.

What is Aphasia?
Aphasia interferes with a person’s ability to communicate effectively. It is usually the result of an injury that causes trauma to the parts of a person’s brain that regulate language. Older adults who have recently had a stroke are the most at-risk for aphasia. Although seniors with aphasia may struggle to come up with the right word or need extra time to understand what they have read, it is important to note that aphasia does not interfere with a person’s intelligence. If your senior loved one has recently been diagnosed, here is what you need to know about aphasia and how it affects a senior’s lifestyle.

Common Causes
Strokes are the leading cause of aphasia, and according to the National Aphasia Association, approximately 25% to 40% of stroke survivors will experience some degree of aphasia. Other illnesses or injuries that cause damage to the brain can also result in problems with communication. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease, brain tumors, epilepsy or who experience a brain infection are all at risk of having aphasia.

Main Symptoms
A senior with aphasia may have trouble speaking due to not being able to find the right words to convey his or her thoughts. At times, he or she may use an odd choice of words in a conversation that may be nonsensical. Some seniors with aphasia may also have trouble understanding what others are saying. This is especially common when an older adult is in a crowded area or engaging in a group conversation. Aphasia can also make it more difficult for seniors to comprehend what they have read and some people may struggle with mathematical calculations. Fatigue can also worsen the symptoms.

Treatment Options
After a diagnosis of aphasia, the senior’s medical team will look closely at several factors such as age, the cause of brain injury, and the size of the brain lesion to determine the best treatment. In some instances, such as a brain tumor, surgery may be an option to help repair the language area of the brain. Alternatively, stroke survivors may benefit from working with a speech therapist that can help them increase their ability to communicate. Although facing a communication disorder might feel daunting, most seniors will experience some degree of recovery when they receive the appropriate treatment.

If your senior loved one is receiving treatment for aphasia and you need additional help to meet his or her current care needs, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our part-time caregivers in Columbus can provide transportation to appointments, practice therapeutic exercises, and promote an efficient recovery in the comfort of home. Call (614) 481-8888 and schedule a complimentary consultation with a friendly Care Manager.