Tag Archives: Aphasia
There are times during the recover of a stroke, brain injury and aphasia you feel isolated. A quiet hug can lift our spirits and help us feel better. I remember sitting on the couch with my mother, suffering from cancer, holding hands, without conversation, just that human touch that says I understand and I love you. Survivors of a stroke, brain injury and the frustration of aphasia – sometimes just need a HUG.
Aphasia is the result of a stroke or brain injury. The Brain Injury of Massachusetts offers some wonderful ideas and coping skills.
Aphasia is a complex condition. It affects each person differently and may be hardly noticeable or very severe. A person with Aphasia may find that their communication difficulties can change from day-to-day or even hour to hour. They are likely to be worse when tired, unwell or under pressure.
People with Aphasia have described the experience as being:
“locked inside my own head”
“everything been washed from my brain”
Having Aphasia is often isolating and extremely frustrating. It usually results in loss of work for people under retirement age, with loss of status, social contact and financial security. Roles within the family may change, and friendships and close relationships come under great strain.
Will it improve? Each individual will have a different set of problems and will achieve a different level of recovery. It is impossible to predict how much language the person will regain.
Having the confidence to use whatever language skills remain seems to be even more important than being able to find all the right words. With practice and support, even people with severe Aphasia can continue to express their needs, choices and unique personality.
When you are talking with a person with Aphasia:
- Choose a quiet place with few distractions if possible e.g. (background noise and more than one person speaking at once can make it very hard to follow a conversation).
- Gain and maintain eye contact before starting to speak. This will ensure that facial expressions and gestures will give a lot of clues about the message you are trying to get across, even if he/she finds the words hard to follow.
- Allow plenty of time for him/her to absorb what you have said and to make his/her response.
- Talk with a normal voice but at a slightly slower speed than usual.
- Give only one piece of information at a time.
- Use short sentences.
- Check you have both understood. Don’t pretend you have understood when you haven’t!
- Use familiar words and phrases.
- Make it clear if you are changing the subject.
- Have a pen and paper handy, as some people can read or write better than they can speak. Sometimes drawing the message or using other ‘props’ (pictures, photographs and real objects) can help.
- It is easier to answer questions with a “Yes” or “No” answer (closed questions) than questions that need a fuller answer (open questions). For example, “Do you want a cup of tea?” rather than, “What would you like to drink?”
- It is quite common for people with Aphasia to mix related words when they speak (such as ‘yes’ and ‘no’ or ‘he’ and ‘she’). Sometimes it can help to use gestures (thumbs up or down) or point to a symbol (tick, cross, smiley face, unhappy face) to check the meaning.
- Avoid shouting, interrupting, patronising or ignoring the person with Aphasia. Many people with Aphasia have had the experience of being treated as “stupid”, “drunk” or “mad”, which makes living with a language impairment even harder to deal with.
Good new is that there are new websites that offer tools to cope with aphasia. Hope, Humor and Hard work will improve our disorder.
SNOW, SNOW, SNOW, SNOW! FRUSTRATION, FRUSTRATION, FRUSTRATION! CABIN FEVER, FEELING ISOLATED AND ANXIOUS. Most people have these feelings especially stroke survivors and people with aphasia. Most aphasiacs have trouble speaking on the phone when nervous or upset which can make these feelings exasperated.
Stop, slow down and go back to the basics. What to do to feel better?
1. Call your neighbor and invite them to your home for a cup of tea and help with anything you need done. Trust me they will be glad to help and will feel better about themselves. This is important especially for medications. Be sure you have enough for four or five days.
2. Be sure to wear your medical alert device.
3. Use the coping skills you learned in rehabilitation.
4. If you need some groceries ask your neighbor to pick them up for you or if you can use the computer order online for delivery I do this frequently – they will bring the food into your home – usually kitchen table..
5. Do not attempt to shovel or walk on the snow and ice alone, ask the person driving to help you. Your walking device can be dangerous in the snow.
6. Watch television, a DVD, knit mittens for your family, crochet a small chair throw, as a gift for your neighbor. My favorite is to work on word puzzles.
7. Read a good book “Finding My Voice with Aphasia”, ” The Unbroken” or a whatever genre you enjoy.
8. Most importantly stay safe but if you are not feeling well or unusual call 911
Remember safety first, take care of yourself and ask for help
Imagine being in a car accident or a bad fall. You are semi-conscious and cannot reply to questions referring to your medical conditions or your medications. Eventually you regain consciousness and respond to these questions but you are stressed, in pain and cannot remember all your medications and most important your allergies. Imagine being a person with aphasia who under this stress cannot communicate any information. These scenarios occur frequently in the Emergency Rooms everyday.
The solution is YOU. Carry a card with your name, address, medical condition, allergies, medications, surgeries, and emergency contacts. People, especially with aphasia, should carry a card/paper similar to this example:
I have suffered a stroke or head injury resulting in Aphasia. Aphasia means it is difficult for me to speak clearly, read or write, especially under pressure. Please speak slowly and clearly and allow me time to respond. Thank you.
Prior surgeries: For example if you have a pacemaker you cannot have a MRI
That is the topic on ” Sharing Experiences – Knowledge is Power” on Toginet Thursday @ 11am.
Thank you to my listeners.
Stress can cause many problems for people especially stroke survivors. The past eight months have been very stressful and recently it has effected my aphasia and other stroke related issues. As my aphasia became worse I decided it was time to take a break and take care of myself. When this happens it is your body telling you to stop what you are doing and find a place to relax and de-stress. I am spending my time at my favorite place in Maine. The minute I walked in I could feel myself relax. After several days I feel better, not stressed and rejuvenated. If you are under a lot of stress – Please find time for yourself to relax – travel to a place that makes you happy, attend a movie or go to a dinner and a play or just meet with your friends for a quiet night and chit-chat. It will do you the world of good and avoid any medical issues. Remember you only have one body so take good care of it!