What is Aphasia and How Does it Impact People?

An elderly lady with Aphasia looks toward a caregiver with confusion.Around 1 million people in the US currently deal with Aphasia, while 180,000 new cases are recorded each year. And yet, around 85% of the population have never heard of Aphasia and don't know what impacts it can have. As science progresses, new technology is developed to treat, prevent, and recover from this disorder. However, understanding what Aphasia stems from and how it may impact your life or the life of your loved one is the first step to dealing with it. 

Here at National Home Care, we are dedicated to providing all-around support and expert tips for aphasia care. Learn more about this disorder and its impact below. 

What Is Aphasia?

Aphasia is a widespread disorder that arises when the areas of the brain responsible for producing and processing language are damaged - for example, due to a stroke. Aphasia manifests itself differently from person to person, depending on the extent and location of the damage, type of brain injury, and age and general health of those affected. Whether the symptoms of aphasia can vary from mild to severe, most people with this disorder struggle with reading, speaking, understanding speech, finding words, and writing tasks. 

The Different Types of Aphasia

Each case of aphasia is unique, but they can be categorized as:

  • Expressive - difficulty to express thoughts and words through speech and writing
  • Receptive - difficulty understanding reading and speech

Another way to categorize this disorder sees four distinct types:

  • Broca's aphasia or non-fluent aphasia - difficulty finding words and reduced speech
  • Wernicke's aphasia or fluent aphasia - ability to create long sentences that often don’t make sense
  • Anomic aphasia - inability to supply words
  • Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) - progressive impairment of writing, reading, and speaking

What Causes Aphasia?

While aphasia can affect anyone, it is more common in middle-aged and older adults. Since this disease is often related to brain damage, it is most commonly caused by a stroke, head injury, or brain surgery. It might also derive from a brain tumor or infection, in which case it develops over time.

Symptoms and Impact of Aphasia

When selecting the right Aphasia care solution, it is important to consider what symptoms you are dealing with. The most common ones include:

  • Difficulty naming items, places, and people
  • Difficulty expressing oneself
  • Trouble understanding speech, reading, spelling, and writing
  • Speaking in short, broken sentences produced with effort
  • Trouble doing math

When looking at the impact that Aphasia might have on a person’s life, it is important to consider these factors:

  • Every case of aphasia is unique
  • The symptoms of aphasia can vary in intensity and type
  • The age and general health of the person affected can influence treatment and recovery times
  • The cause of aphasia and the extent of the brain damage can influence how severely this disorder impacts your life.

For example, if a stroke causes aphasia, the patient might recover all their language-related abilities within hours. Oppositely, if this condition stems from a neurodegenerative disorder such as dementia, the condition might be ongoing and worsening over time. In this case, specialized, ongoing elderly aphasia care might be required. People affected with aphasia might find support at specialized medical facilities by contacting the National Aphasia Association or the American Stroke Association.

Aphasia can feel like an extremely frustrating condition that can severely impact a person's ability to build and maintain relationships and deal with others in social events. Finding support is essential to maintain a high quality of life and continue enjoying everyday tasks and interactions. 

Provide Private Duty Home Care for Your Loved One with Aphasia 

Aphasia can be a frustrating, confusing condition for a person to manage. Whether your loved one’s aphasia set in after a stroke or due to an advanced age, they may need some extra help now or on an ongoing basis. The private duty home care team members at National Home Care can help your loved one with aphasia. Our caregivers have experience working with clients with a variety of medical conditions and needs. Give us a call today to match the right caregiver with your loved one.

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