According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke, approximately 1 million people in the U.S. currently live with aphasia, a disorder that affects the ability to communicate. Seniors are especially at a high risk for developing this condition. However, they can reduce their risk of aphasia by taking precautions to prevent other serious conditions. Naples senior care professionals discuss 4 major causes of aphasia in seniors and how to reduce the risk in each case.
1. Acute Brain Injuries
Almost any accident that affects the frontal lobe of the brain can impact the ability to speak and understand words. Older adults tend to have much higher rates of head injuries because of limited balance and mobility. Providing seniors with the proper mobility device, such as a walker or cane, can drastically reduce their risk of falling and hitting their heads.
2. Alzheimer’s Disease
Aphasia is often one of the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and doctors have come to realize these two conditions are actually quite similar. When brain cells begin to die off because of a dementia-related disorder, there is a very good chance the senior will eventually develop some form of aphasia. There is currently no cure for either of these conditions, but an early diagnosis and comprehensive treatment program can delay some of the most severe side effects for many years.
Not only are strokes the most common cause of aphasia, but over 30 percent of all stroke survivors will eventually develop some form of this condition. In many hospitals, seniors are immediately screened for aphasia within just a few days of having a stroke. A language therapist administers these tests and then guides the senior through various exercises, such as reading and writing passages, holding a conversation, naming items, and following complex directions.
4. Brain Infections
Though most cases of aphasia are not caused by brain infections, seniors who are diagnosed with meningitis or another similar disease must be screened for speech and comprehension impediments. The vast majority of these diseases are caused by bacterial infections that enter the bloodstream and eventually make their way to the brain. Seniors who have noticed any signs of a bacterial infection should immediately head to the emergency room so they can receive medication.
To learn more about aphasia and how to prevent it, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of stroke, Alzheimer’s, and dementia home care Naples, FL, seniors can count on, and our caregivers can assist with mobility, provide mental stimulation, and help with a wide array of daily tasks. For more information on our elderly care services, call (239) 449-4701 to speak with an experienced Client Care Manager.