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Helping the Elderly Cope with Dysphasia

Dysphasia is a language disorder characterized by difficulty expressing thoughts verbally. When an individual experiences dysphasia, he or she can face difficulty speaking, reading, writing, and gesturing to communicate with others. This can make it extremely difficult for the individual to manage day-to-day tasks, sometimes to the point of inhibiting his or her ability to live independently. Many older adults who suffer from dysphasia benefit from free home healthcare services.

Dysphasia can be an isolating condition. It is often confused with other conditions, like dysarthria, a speech condition characterized by weakness in the face, mouth, and respiratory system muscles, and aphasia, a condition characterized by the sufferer’s inability to understand speech directed at him or her as well as an inability to express him- or herself verbally.

What Causes Dysphasia?

Dysphasia is caused by damage to the left frontal lobe, the part of the brain that handles language comprehension and speech. The brain can suffer damage as a result of a variety of conditions, such as:

  • Stroke;
  • Infection;
  • Seizure;
  • A brain tumor;
  • A neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer’s; and
  • Trauma to the head.

Dysphasia Symptoms

Symptoms of dysphasia include:

  • Slow speech;
  • Difficulty “finding” the right words to use in speech;
  • Difficulty understanding complex grammar;
  • Difficulty understanding others’ speech;
  • Making simple grammatical mistakes while speaking;
  • Telegraphic speech, the omission of prepositions and articles;
  • Substituting words and sounds while speaking; and
  • Misinterpreting others’ speech during conversations.

Strategies for Handling Dysphasia

Strokes are the most common cause of dysphasia. As an individual recovers from a stroke or another one of the conditions listed above, he or she can experience dysphasia. In certain cases, particularly mild ones and cases where the individual receives prompt medical treatment for his or her condition, dysphasia can be temporary and the individual can recover in time. In other cases, it is necessary for the individual to relearn words and grammar rules, essentially relearning how to speak at the level he or she spoke at prior to developing dysphasia.

One way to help your elderly loved one cope with dysphasia is to use simple speech with him or her. Do not use long words or complex sentences structures, and avoid figurative language and other turns of phrase he or she might not “get.” Avoid distractions while communicating with him or her and if you have visual aids like photos or a device like a tablet or smartphone, use them to help you communicate. Above all, be patient with your loved one. Dysphasia can be very frustrating, and he or she is no less intelligent than he or she was before experiencing it.

Hire a Home Healthcare Service Provider who can Help your Loved One Cope with Dysphasia

If your elderly loved one is a beneficiary of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) or the Department of Labor Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (DOL EEOICPA), he or she could qualify for free home healthcare service through United Energy Workers Healthcare and Four Corners Health Care. To learn more, contact our team today to set up your consultation.