Communication Tips for Caregivers of Patients with APHASIA

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Updated on February 8, 2021

Communication Tips for Caregivers of Patients with APHASIA

Aphasia is a communication disorder that affects a person’s ability to understand, produce or read written or spoken words.  The symptoms of aphasia depending on which areas on the language portion the left brain is affected.  Aphasia can be caused by a stroke (most common cause), head injury or brain degeneration such as primary progressive aphasia (PPA).

There are 3 main types of Aphasia

  • Receptive Dysphasia (where there is difficulty understanding other people and poor comprehension)
  • Expressive Dysphasia (where this is good comprehension but difficulty expressing themselves)
  • Global Aphasia (where there is a mixture of the above 2)

Click to view TED-Ed video on Aphasia

Symptoms

  • Difficulty understanding what other people are saying or what they are reading
  • Difficulty expressing themselves both verbally and/or in writing
  • Difficulty finding the correct words to say or write
  • Sometimes they substitute with the words (paraphasia)
  • Make grammatical errors or use wrong choice of words

Communication Tips for Caregivers

Aphasia can be isolating for the affected person because of the difficulty to communicate with people around.  However, aphasia does NOT have to be isolating if the caregivers, family and friends take the effort to relearn how to communicate so that the affected person remains part of the conversation.  Here are a few tips to learn how to communicate in an aphasia-friendly manner.

Click to view National Aphasia Association video on Communication Tips

  • Find a quiet place to speak without any distracting background noise like the TV
  • Speak directly to the person so that you face and lips can be seen clearly
  • Talk naturally and articulate clearly (but don’t shout)
  • Use short simple sentences and emphasise keywords 
  • Take your time, be patient and don’t rush
  • Repeat and rephrase if necessary to endure there is no misunderstanding
  • Pause and listen without showing anger or annoyance
  • Make sure you are speaking with (and NOT for) the person
  • Use more than one means of communication such as facial expressions, mobile apps or hand gestures (like thumbs up or down gestures)
  • Try to write things down, use symbols or drawing
  • Focus on the INTERACTION rather than the TRANSACTION
  • Take short breaks so that the person does not feel exhausted

See your Neurologist or speech therapist if you have any speech issues

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If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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