Tips for Communicating with a Stroke Survivor Who Is Unable to Speak

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Stroke survivors often go through periods of being unable to speak, and it can take some time for most people to regain their abilities. Seniors who are nonverbal still need to be able to communicate their needs. These tips can help you communicate with your aging loved one as he or she works through the first stages of regaining the ability to talk.

Be an Attentive Listener

It can be difficult to stand silently by while your loved one attempts to communicate. However, jumping in to fill in words could delay your loved one’s recovery. Right now, any attempts at communication need to be encouraged, and one of the best ways to do that is to practice attentive listening. Naturally, you’ll want to provide assistance if your loved one asks or seems overly frustrated, but allow a chance to practice using his or her communication skills first.

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 in-home care. 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.

Minimize Distractions

Attentive listening is much easier when you don’t have other noises competing for your attention. Try to remember to do things such as lowering the volume on the television when you speak to your loved one. If other people are in the room, you can politely ask them to be quiet while you communicate with him or her. Without distractions, it may be easier to decipher your loved one’s attempts at speech and pick up on nonverbal cues that help him or her communicate.

Use a Communication Board

Caregivers for stroke survivors frequently use communication boards to empower their loved ones to make their needs known. These boards may be as simple as a picture showing “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” signs to help stroke survivors answer yes or no questions. They can also include letter grids that allow people to spell out longer messages or multiple images that provide options, such as for a dinner menu. If you use a communication board, simply instruct your loved one to point or look directly at the part that communicates what he or she wants to say, which may require you to hold the board closer to your loved one if he or she is unable to move or is weakened from the stroke.

Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Lincoln 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.

Offer a Pencil and Paper

Survivors of mild strokes that don’t impact their mobility too much may still be able to write or type, which is more likely to be an option if the stroke didn’t affect the side of the body that corresponds to the hand your loved one writes with. If your loved one has difficulty holding the pencil, look for larger ones. You can also use special assistive devices to secure the pencil to your loved one’s hand, and you can also provide assistance.

Ask Simple Questions

Keep things simple in the early stages of recovery. The changes the stroke caused to the brain may impact your loved one’s ability to form words and create statements in his or her mind. Sticking to simple questions that only require one-word answers allows your loved one to do things such as nod his or her head or point at a picture to respond.

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 Lincoln 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. To learn about our high-quality in-home care services, give us a call at 916.226.3737 today.