Aphasia has got to be one of the most frustrating conditions that can occur during late-in-life aging. The condition, which has occurred in two of the elderly parents in my family, is a speech expression disorder that makes speaking and interacting with others nearly impossible and is a result of brain damage. In my family the aging adults who experienced aphasia knew what they were thinking and wanted to say — they just couldn’t express it.
The two fragile aging parents experienced a type speech difficulty called Broca’s Aphasia, a condition that inhibits an individual’s ability to use language to express thoughts, though both individuals were often able to say enough to, with our help, get the point across. Yet many times they would give up, crossly commenting, “Oh never mind!”
This video from the National Aphasia Association provides more information.
Aphasia can occur after a stroke or neurological event or as a result of brain damage following a fall, and sometimes the onset is sudden. The condition can be classified in a number of different ways, each type of aphasia has a name and a set of corresponding symptoms.
One interesting observation is that both of my family members were able to continue reading books even though they had so much difficulty expressing their thoughts.
It is heartbreaking to observe people who were articulate, expressive, and successful individuals, gradually become increasingly frustrated because they cannot communicate effectively.
Learn More About Aphasia at these Resource Sites
Thanks for this post. I feel for elders who experience any part of this – not being able to express their feelings or thoughts clearly. Blessings to you as you continue to work along side your family.
My grandmother suffered from aphasia after her first and second stroke. Reflecting on our caregiving journey, I’m unsure who was more frustrated….her suffering from aphasia or me watching her struggle with aphasia! Thank you for your post!
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