Medical issues that sometimes arise as people age can limit their ability to live independent lives. Many people are familiar with more common conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, which can diminish someone’s cognitive faculties and potentially lead to a need for guardianship.
However, there are many other conditions that can affect someone’s independence and health as they age. Some of these conditions don’t receive much attention. In some cases, the medical consequences of aging affect someone’s ability to community with their loved ones and caregivers.
How do families cope with medical issues that cause speech impairments?
They obtain an accurate diagnosis
Aphasia is a condition strongly associated with head injuries. Someone who fell or had a stroke might develop aphasia. Getting an accurate diagnosis for the condition will play a role in helping medical professionals establish the best treatment options. Dysarthria, on the other hand, is a condition that develops when someone loses control over the muscles that facilitate speech.
Obviously, while the symptoms impairing someone’s speech are similar in both cases, the treatments and workarounds that could help could be vastly different based on the underlying cause.
They find ways to effectively communicate
Families may need to invest in alternative communication technology, such as tablets with special programming. In some cases, sign language could be useful, but it can be prohibitively difficult for someone of advanced age or already coping with a head injury to learn sign language.
Relying on technology and written communication is a useful means of bridging the gap when someone’s speech abilities fail them.
They may obtain specialized care
Adults dealing with severe health issues that limit their independence often require extensive support. Finding the right assisted living or nursing home facility can be a challenge when older adults have specific health issues limiting their daily lives, like aphasia and dysarthria affecting their verbal communication skills. Frequent check-ins with those who have limited communication ability are crucial, as their conditions may put them at elevated risk for abuse or neglect.
Moving a loved one into a nursing home facility is often a necessary step when someone has health issues that affect their mental capacity or communication.