Strokes often strike the parts of the brain associated with speech. In some instances, your aging loved one may be unable to gather thoughts and translate them into verbal speech. In others, your loved one may have lost control over the motor functions required to move his or her mouth and create the right sounds. Although the recovery is often slow, many stroke survivors eventually regain the ability to speak. Until then, you can use these tips to continue to communicate with your loved one.
1. Work with a Speech Therapist
After a stroke, your loved one may be referred to a therapist such as a speech language pathologist who can help your loved one regain his or her language abilities. The therapist can provide insight into what you should expect over the course of recovery, as well as exercises and strategies to help your loved one speak more clearly. Getting professional input lets you know where you can start with helping your loved one communicate.
2. Be Respectful of Your Loved One’s Preferences
You should always talk to your loved one as though he or she understands everything you say because it’s quite likely true. Try to include your loved one in any discussions you have with doctors or other family members when he or she is present. Make eye contact and mention your loved one by name so he or she feels included. You may also need to limit the number of visitors your loved one has if he or she seems uncomfortable being unable to speak to people. You can gradually invite people back in as your loved one feels more confident.
If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of homecare. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.
3. Allow Extra Time for Responses
Your loved one many need more time to formulate responses after experiencing a stroke. A good rule of thumb is to wait about 30 seconds for a response after you ask a question or give a command. During this time, try to maintain a relaxed expression so your loved one doesn’t feel the need to rush the response. If you don’t receive a response, try rephrasing what you said or move on to a different activity.
4. Use Nonverbal Communication
Try to use pictures or real-life objects to supplement your speech. Pointing to a lamp as you ask if your loved one wants the light turned on can help him or her understand what you’re talking about. Your loved one may also be able to point to pictures to let you know what he or she needs.
Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but South Tampa live-in care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or is recovering from a stroke, you can trust the professional live-in caregivers from Home Care Assistance to enhance his or her quality of life.
5. Try Writing or Typing Responses
A stroke survivor who has lost the ability to speak may still be able to type or write responses. Consider offering a notepad and pen to see if your loved one is able to write. If not, he or she may be able to draw pictures or circle a response from a list of options. You can also try writing down your questions so your loved one can see if reading them helps him or her better understand what you’re asking.
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to South Tampa Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. If your loved one needs professional care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (813) 488-5804 to learn about the high quality of our in-home stroke care services.