Aphasia makes life difficult for many senior living residents.
Residents with this language disorder can face serious challenges: trouble communicating with neighbors and loved ones, social isolation and difficulty securing the care they need from staff.
But that doesn’t mean aphasia has to stop residents from pursuing their passions and connecting with others. Senior living leaders can foster an inclusive, accessible and engaging environment for residents dealing with this condition. It’s all about finding the right resources and purposeful technology that make life easier and more enjoyable for your census.
Let’s first learn a bit more about aphasia, and then discuss some creative ways for senior living leaders to curb the effects of aphasia:
Understanding Aphasia’s Effect on Senior Living Residents
Aphasia is a language disorder that affects a person’s ability to speak, read, write and understand others. It affects more than 2.5 million Americans and is most typically diagnosed after a patient suffers a stroke or brain injury, as noted by the Adler Aphasia Center.
Residents dealing with aphasia will struggle to communicate. They’ll experience difficulty hearing what others have to say and finding the right words to express themselves. It could be easier for them to get jumbled when speaking, and they might say one word while meaning another. The level of severity of this condition can vary greatly; some might have minor speech and comprehension trouble while others can barely communicate.
Needless to say, aphasia is a difficult condition to live with, especially when combined with potential hearing loss. Day-to-day activities, such as doctor’s appointments and FaceTiming with family, become much more difficult. It might be hard to chat with friends or participate in group activities.
Residents with aphasia become candidates for loneliness and social isolation, which are associated with major health risks such as dementia, heart disease and depression.
Aphasia Resources For Senior Living Leaders
So what does all this mean for community leaders? The short answer: your community must make a clear effort to address the challenges associated with aphasia.
Communities that are equipped with the right tools will differentiate themselves. When you’re able to help a resident with aphasia live their life with fewer obstacles, you’ll reduce controllable move-outs and ensure a lively community. Plus, your differentiated approach will attract prospective residents that can see your demonstrated ability to adapt to your residents’ needs
We’ve identified some resources to help senior living leaders develop their aphasia strategy:
Aphasia is a very common disorder, meaning that you’re not alone in searching for creative ways to help residents thrive despite their condition.
Sometimes, the best way to find inspiration is to hear from other caregivers and medical professionals. The National Aphasia Association has an online events calendar featuring webinars, chats and other activities. The Aphasia Community hosts an online forum where you can post questions and chat with like-minded leaders. These are just two of the many options out there; so get out and start connecting!
Speech Therapy Apps
It’s amazing what we can accomplish with our smartphones and tablets. Assistive apps and devices are a great way to creatively use technology to help residents with aphasia.
The Constant Therapy app provides more than 85 evidence-based cognitive language and speech therapy activities with 500,000+ individual exercises. Proloquo2Go provides a “voice” for its users, allowing them to click on images that produce corresponding audio. TalkPath News reads articles out loud to residents and then tests their reading comprehension to help them stay sharp.
Once again: we’ve only named a few options, so you’re sure to find something that fits your residents’ needs.
Sometimes, the best way to make therapy effective is to make it fun. Companies such as PLAYWORK are developing game-based technologies that can help residents with aphasia practice specific language skills.
The PLAYBALL Therapy Ball allows residents to practice word retrieval, naming, vocabulary, grammar and comprehension; you can see it in action here.
Eversound’s Wireless Headphone System
Eversound, senior living’s preferred wireless headphone system, is another addition to your technology toolbelt for battling aphasia.
The wireless headphones amplify sound and eliminate background noise, making it easier for residents with aphasia to understand and process speech. Speech therapists can use Eversound to provide audio stimulation to individuals who have difficulty understanding others.
Senior living leaders can also play any form of audio over Eversound’s wireless transmitters, which have a range of up to 300 feet and don’t require WiFi or cellular service. Combining Eversound with one of the therapy apps mentioned above can provide a doubling impact that truly improves comprehension.
Using Eversound to Help Residents with Aphasia
The best technology systems are able to provide impact to your community in multiple areas. That’s what makes Eversound such a “sound” investment; it’s a great tool to help residents with aphasia, and can also be used in a variety of use cases, from memory care to group activities to senior outings.
Over 1,000 communities across the country are using Eversound to enhance the speech and comprehension of their residents. The wireless headphone system can be used in large group activities, family visits, clinical appointments, prospect tours, one-on-one therapy sessions, resident council meetings, devotionals and everything in between.
And get this — Eversound pays for itself: one net new rental will easily cover the $260/mo average cost for the basic Eversound package. Community leaders can rest assured that they’re making a sound investment.
Get in touch with the Eversound team today to learn how our system can help improve communication and get residents dealing with aphasia back to living a full life.