Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Don't Forget the Caregivers

In my last blog, I talked about the different emotional sides of the people who suffer from aphasia.  While this is a very relevant topic, it is just as important to discuss the emotional sides of a caregiver.  I mentioned last time the man who had severe expressive aphasia (unable to get most of his words out) but was still very happy and positive even though he really couldn't communicate.  Well, it was a different story when I met his wife.  She came in to talk with me and she was the farthest from joyful and positive.  She was completely overwhelmed.   Here she had her husband who had supported her financially, who was extremely intelligent, but now couldn't get across the most basic thought.  Her role in life had completely changed.  Everything, and I mean everything, was now her responsibility.  She was in the process of fighting insurance companies for more visits, paying all the bills, taking care of all his appointments, taking him to all his appointments (he can't drive now), taking care of his business (he was a successful business owner), and the list goes on and on.    Who could blame her for being overwhelmed!   Then there is also the personal side of it.  She had "lost" the man she used to carry on conversations with.  Who she could converse with whenever she needed his advice or just to hear how his day was.  Now all their conversations are one-sided.  He can listen and understand everything, but is unable to respond,  unable to interact with her.   So caregivers, allow yourself to mourn.  What has happened is not fair. This has probably affected you as much as your loved one.  So as easy as it is to tell yourself to "be strong", allow yourself to mourn what has happened.  Don't be hesitant to ask others for help either.  And finally, find a support group.  You need an outlet, someone to talk to that understands your pain.  Best wishes to you all.


  1. Yes - it was/has been so important for me and my husband to mourn the loss of his mother as we knew her before the stroke. She's still herself, but not - in some good ways and some bad ways. We had to give ourselves time to get to know her again and come to a new equilibrium for communication. It's been very helpful for us to talk with others going through the same thing.

  2. Kimberly I loved this article. You just described my life. After being married to the same man almost 30 years I now feel like I am married to a stranger. My husband has been left with expressive/receptive aphasia due to a rollover accident we were involved in on April 29th 2012. He was rushed into surgery for a brain bleed and spent the next two months in the hospital. He was a professional truck driver almost 30 years and also a minister. This accident has left him/us with the loss of both of those careers. I have told him that he/we are grieving the loss of what was and really kind of scared of what will be? Thanks for your work to help those like us to have hope. God bless DEB~