Stroke Survivor

A stroke survivor dedicated to helping people with disabilities live full lives.

Navigate to Your Welcome PageClick for Caregivers InfoClick for Survivors InfoClick for Rehab Professionals ResourcesClick to Home Page

email

mailSlot
Positive Power Publishing Logo

HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 561
Commending Paul Berger
.

 Paul Named Virginia Advocate of the Year
AHA's "You're the Cure" Honor
Click here

Stephanie receives Fairfax Caregiver
Award

***
Stephanie blogs for Disruptive Women in Healthcare

Ten Tips for Communicating When Your Spouse Has Aphasia
A Caregiver's Perspective

By Stephanie Mensh, Stroke Caregiving Expert

My husband, Paul Berger, has aphasia, a speech-language disability that makes reading, writing, and speaking difficult. Paul's aphasia was caused by a stroke when he was 36. We had been married for four years. The first few weeks following Paul's stroke, he had lost all of his language abilities.

While he was still in the intensive care unit, Paul tried to communicate with me. He held up his left hand (his right side was paralyzed), and turned it one way, then the other. For what seemed like hours, I guessed and guessed at what he was trying to tell me. Did he want the nurses to stop something? Did he want to pray? Was there something wrong with his hand?

Finally, I guessed that he wanted his fingernails trimmed. I couldn't believe him. After going through brain surgery on his ruptured aneurysm and looking like he was hit by a truck, then suffering a terrible stroke, being too weak to sit up, having pneumonia (the list of his medical problems went on and on): he wanted a manicure! That's when I realized that I would need help to learn to communicate with Paul.

Here are the top 10 tips I learned to help me communicate with my husband after his stroke.

Top 10 Tips from the Professionals

Stephanie's Top 10 Tips

1. Be patient.

1. Okay. Nobody is perfect. I'm a Type A.

2. Speak in a normal tone of voice.

2. Yell. He's my husband. I yelled at him before his stroke.

3. Speak slowly. Use simple words and short sentences.

3. Four-letter words are easy to yell slowly.

4. Limit background noise or distractions. Turn off the TV or radio.

4. Why does he only want to talk during my show?

5. Develop non-verbal strategies, including gestures, pointing to things, using picture cards, or drawing in a pocket notebook.

5. I can read Paul's mind, and we always win at charades. The trick is first to understand what topic we're discussing.

6. Making the first sound of the word can help the person with aphasia to say the whole word or phrase.

6. We created cues for each letter of the alphabet. When I see Paul making the cue, like pointing to his nose for N, I'll help with the sound if he can't get it.

7. Aphasia can result in switching words that are close in meaning or sound, like restaurant-refrigerator, or opposites, like yes-no, hot-cold.

7. I've learned to write down numbers, since Paul often switches five-fifteen-fifty or hundred-thousand. We live in the Washington, DC suburbs, so we hear a lot of people switching million-billion-trillion.

8. Aphasia impairs language, not intelligence. Respect the survivor's intelligence by involving him in decision-making, and by including him in discussions of current events.

8. Okay. Like most couples, we have our disagreements. I can yell louder, but Paul can do the "silent treatment" better.

9. People with aphasia must make as much effort to concentrate when they listen as when they form words to speak.

9. Be careful what you say. Paul can be extraordinarily fluent repeating a secret to the wrong person.

10. Having a sense of humor and laughing is important. However, people with aphasia have an easier time understanding concrete words and actions, instead of jokes based on slang, puns, clever plays on words, and abstract words.

10. Paul can enjoy most comics - words and pictures. But he laughs loudest at slapstick. We both laugh at some of his aphasia-induced word switches and misunderstandings (when I explain them to him).

~~<<>>~~

Copyright (c) Paul E. Berger & Stephanie Mensh
Permission is granted to reprint this article
in your newsletter or magazine only with the following byline:
"Stephanie Mensh is a speaker and author.
To find out more about her programs and services,
visit www.StrokeSurvivor.com
or call (703) 241-2375."
 

Stroke Survivor

info@strokesurvivor.com

tweet.size.
facebook
[Home] [Video] [Newsletter+Articles] [Ask the Experts] [Reading List] [Helpful Products] [Resource Links] [Our Books & Tapes] [Our E-Books] [Chapter One] [Speaking Topics] [About Us] [Contact Us] [Home] [Home]

Subscribe to FREE Survivor Tips Newsletter
and
7-Part Course

Your first & last name

Your email address:

Now on Amazon Kindle
E-books

 How to Conquer the World With One Hand...And an Attitude
Watch the book trailer.
Click for details
Click for details (UK)

  YOU CAN DO IT!
Click for details

E-Books: Solutions to Download:
Conquering Aphasia & Stroke TODAY! Click for details

Conquering Aphasia & Stroke for Caregivers Click for details

More Conquering Aphasia & Stroke Click for details

You are marvels!  I just read the newsletter ... and it is simply priceless (I always read them, and they are all noteworthy, but this one is beyond good.)  Paul, your book is in my book as something that all clinicians should have, read, pass on (ie, make them buy) to their clients.
 -Audrey Holland, Professor Emerita,University of Arizona

I came across your website today and just wanted to congratulate you on providing a helpful resource for stroke survivors and healthcare professionals.
     -Marisca Baldwin, The Pat Arato Aphasia Centre, Toronto,,Canada

THE AUDIO BOOK
 Everyone wants! on 8 CDs
Recorded version
of How to Conquer the World With One Hand...And an Attitude
Click for details.

 The Stroke Survivor Premier    Book Club System
   Easy...Affordable...Enjoyable...       Motivational!
 
Click for details.

Reading problems?
You can hear text with FREE
text reader software described on
 our, Access page

googlebe823389b37e2e82