Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Be Patient - Don't Frustrate the Person with Aphasia

Last week, I spoke to a woman with an adult son suffering from Aphasia.  He had a stroke about a year ago and had been living again with her and his father while continuing his recovery. 

The lady told me that her son wanted to move out because he couldn't stand to around her husband anymore.  The father frustrates the son on a daily basis by being impatient.  He won't let the son talk.  He tries (unsuccessfully, apparently) to finish the son's sentences.  The son just wants to recover.  He doesn't want therapy at home from his dad.

As a therapist, I hear similar stories more than I like.  If you want to support a person suffering from Aphasia, Let them talk.  I will repeat that, "Let them talk".  I know it sometimes takes a long time.  To be honest, sometimes it seems like it will take an eternity if you let the person finish a sentence. 

Be supportive.  Be attentive.  Learn to be a good listener.   Let them finish.  Don't frustrate them by trying to guess what they want to say.  Don't finish sentences for them.  Relax and listen.

We all want to communicate.  We all want to share and be heard.  Sometimes, the toughest thing a caregiver can do is Nothing. 

Listen more and you will be an even stronger support to your loved one with aphasia. 

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