Senior woman and caregiver with laptop at home

June Aphasia Awareness Month at Highland.

Among language disorders, Aphasia has climbed above Parkinson’s disease in prevalence. Yet, awareness of it is not as high as it is for Parkinson’s. Aphasia is a language disorder that affects the ability to communicate. It’s most often caused by injury to parts of the brain that control speech and language resulting from a stroke. Aphasia may also result from brain tumors, infections or head trauma.

While some people think aphasia is simply a sign of getting older or a symptom of dementia, both young people and old suffer from it in debilitating ways.

The disorder can be frustrating and isolating. That’s why it’s so important to increase awareness for it to help others better understand its effects. Read on to discover the symptoms of aphasia and the recovery process.

Warning Signs of Aphasia.

According to the National Aphasia Association, 2 million people in the U.S. have aphasia and have lost all or some of the ability to use words. In 2020, the yearly number of aphasia cases will double. Although those with aphasia communicate differently, the disorder does not affect intelligence.

Symptoms can appear suddenly, but look for these warning signs:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body
  • Sudden trouble seeing
  • Sudden dizziness or trouble walking
  • Sudden headache for no reason
  • Sudden confusion or trouble talking and understanding

Aphasia affects everyone differently, but common communication problems include:

  • Speaking
  • Understanding the speech of others
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Gesturing
  • Using numbers

Can You Recover Speech After a Brain Stroke?

Most people undergo speech and language therapy to rehabilitate their language skills and supplement their communication experiences.

At senior living rehabilitation communities such as ours, speech-language pathologists work with individuals to determine the particular variety of aphasia and the amount of function available. There is no medical cure for aphasia, but people can improve over time, particularly if speech therapy is provided. Aphasia can be helped even 10 years after the initial onset if the individuals are provided access to intensive treatment. New imaging studies reveal that with time, the brain can make new networks and heal.

Our community’s speech and language therapy for aphasia helps improve the person’s ability to communicate by restoring as much language as possible, teaching how to make up for lost language skills and working with a variety of methods to communicate. We have access to vital resources, and our professionals work one-on-one with seniors with aphasia to improve speaking ability and sharpen communication skills.

Within our comfortable, friendly setting, there are multiple supportive tools that aid in recovery from aphasia. We foster a sense of connection with other people and focus on engaging residents. Becoming part of a greater community such as ours can bring a sense of meaning and belonging to the senior with aphasia and play a key in recovery.

How To Communicate With Someone With Aphasia.

Keep it simple. Speak in short sentences.

Have patience. Allow plenty of time for responses.

Remove distractions. Turn off TVs or music.

Get creative. Try gestures, writing or tools such as iPads.

Repeat. Confirm back what you hear.

Why is Aphasia Awareness Month Important?

Research from the National Aphasia Association shows that aphasia has a greater negative impact on a person’s quality of life than cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. As the individual’s quality of life suffers, it can affect their ability to communicate with and engage with their family, friends, doctors and the wider community. It’s important that caregivers, families and those who have the power to influence the provision of services from health and social systems are fully aware of the impact the disorder has on the people in their lives.

Our community offers compassionate care for residents with aphasia and a wide array of other medical needs. In recognition of the many millions in America who suffer from aphasia, we’re eager to generate more understanding of this debilitating disorder.

If you or a loved one has questions about our aphasia services, our trained professionals welcome your questions.