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Understanding Aphasia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

By Dian Brannen, 9:00 am on

Aphasia is a communication disorder that most people have not heard of until a senior loved one experiences an illness or injury that affects the part of their brain that controls language. For some, aphasia can occur suddenly such as after a stroke. Yet, others with a brain tumor or illness may experience a slow progression of the disorder. While aphasia does disrupt a person’s ability to speak and comprehend verbal and written language, Lehigh Valley senior home care experts emphasize aphasia does not interfere with a person’s intelligence. Caregivers and loved ones of a patient with aphasia can best help with recovery by having a thorough understanding of what it means to have this disorder.

Common Causes of Aphasia
Strokes are the most common cause of aphasia, and the severity can vary according to how serious the stroke was and where the damage occurred. Brain tumors and injuries to the language region of the brain are another cause of aphasia. In some instances, symptoms of aphasia may be what brought the tumor to a senior’s attention. Progressive neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, can also lead to aphasia.

Symptoms to Expect
The symptoms live-in and hourly caregivers notice will depend upon the severity of the senior’s underlying cause. However, difficulty with speech is the most common symptom. A person may struggle to find the right word or they may mix up words in a sentence. Sounds within words may be interchanged, and some patients may use made up words when they fail to find the right one. Many patients with aphasia may also find it difficult to understand when another person is speaking. Number concepts, such as telling time and counting money, can also pose a challenge.

Types of Treatments Available
Those who have a traumatic brain injury or tumor may be helped with surgery or medication. Stroke survivors may also see some improvements as their brain lesion heals. Speech therapy is the most effective treatment available for patients with a variety of underlying causes and may be offered in group or individual sessions. During speech therapy, a senior will learn strategies that they and their caregivers can use to help them improve their ability to communicate in a variety of situations.

If your senior loved one has experienced a stroke and needs additional help during recovery, including assistance with speech therapy exercises, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of stroke care in the Lehigh Valley, and our caregivers are available to help 24/7. In addition to help with various therapies, caregivers can run errands, cook, perform light housework, assist with bathing, and offer companionship and emotional support during recovery. Call us today at 484-350-3874 to schedule a free in-home consultation.