When seniors survive a stroke, they can sometimes lose their ability to speak and understand language. This condition is known as aphasia and it is relatively common. While there are several types of aphasia, the common thread is that the stroke survivor’s communication skills are disrupted. Sometimes they cannot form words at all, while other people use nonsense words. In many cases, stroke survivors cannot understand when others speak to them.
Regardless of the severity of the aphasia, elderly people are suddenly unable to communicate or understand even the most basic ideas with doctors, caregivers and elder care assistants. In cases like this, communication boards can help bridge the gap between the elderly person and the caregivers.
What is a Communication Board?
A patient communication board is a printed or electronic chart that helps patients in hospitals communicate with caregivers when they can’t speak at all, understand speech or can’t speak the same language. The communication board features words and pictures of some of the most common ideas and thoughts for the setting. The patient points to the picture or word they want to convey, and the caregiver instantly knows what they want.
This helpful tool can also be applied at home between elderly loved ones with aphasia and their family caregivers, family members, friends and elder care assistants. There are some patient communication boards and cards that are commercially available, or family caregivers can make their own on their computer. Many seniors with aphasia no longer understand writing so it’s a good idea to buy or make cards with pictures as well as images. Sometimes, stroke survivors with aphasia recover their language abilities within a few months and sometimes the change is permanent. Either way, communication cards will keep information flowing more smoothly.
How Do Seniors Use Communication Cards?
The communication cards can be kept within reach so that seniors and family caregivers can quickly access them. When they are placed in front of the elderly person, they can indicate their thoughts by pointing at the pictures or words they need. For example, the senior with aphasia can point to the picture of a person sitting up with an arrow indicating movement to let a elder care assistant know that they would like to be positioned that way.
Also, family caregivers and elder care assistants can use the cards to let the elderly person know what is happening. For example, they might show the elderly person a picture of the toilet and then a toothbrush to let them know that it’s time to make a trip to the bathroom to get ready. Instead of hard-to-read gestures and pantomimes, caregivers and seniors can be more direct and clear.
When family caregivers use this communication technique with elderly loved ones with aphasia, they’ll soon see a reduction in their frustration levels and a boost in the quality of care their loved one receives. That’s because caregivers will know exactly what their loved ones need to feel comfortable and cared for despite the lack of ability to communicate.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Memorial, TX, contact the caring staff at Personal Caregiving Services at 832-564-0338. Providing Care in Houston, Bellaire, West University Place, Katy, and Sugar Land and the surrounding areas.
In 1989 after selling his family owned food service business, Mr. Gerber pursued his compassion for the elderly by completing his geriatric education and training requirements to be a licensed nursing home administrator (LNFA) from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.Previously he received his undergraduate business degree from the University of Texas at Austin and his Masters in business administration (MBA) from the University of Houston.In 2003, Mr. Gerber earned his Certification to be a Senior Advisor (CSA).
Sid Gerber is a Google Verified Author
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