Normal daily activities can afford wonderful opportunities to practice communications skills. If your aging parent or loved one has recently experienced a stroke and has aphasia or similar symptoms, there are simple ways to add speech therapy into his or her regular routine. The North Houston stroke caregivers from Home Care Assistance share a few favorite at-home speech therapy exercises:
- Ask your loved one to help make grocery lists. A routine activity such as preparing a shopping list is a good opportunity to practice communication skills and word recall. Avoid yes or no questions as it can be difficult to tell if your loved one is understanding what you’re saying or just trying to appease you. Instead, give them a choice. “Should we buy graham crackers, vanilla cookies, or something else?” This requires them to communicate their wishes without just a nod of the head. Repeat their answer back to them, showing that they were understood.
- Listen to music together. Music can be medicine for a senior stroke survivor. Again, give your loved one a choice. “Would you like to listen to Frank Sinatra or Old Fashion Hymns?” Choose music where the words are clear enough for singing along. During this session, don’t talk to your loved one about something else. Stoke patients have trouble processing speech in the presence of background noise. Focus just on the music and signing along. Have fun together.
- Look through photo albums and magazines. These activities can help to get a conversation going. If your loved one is particularly interested in a grandchild, a vacation, cooking, or bird watching, find photos of these things. Speak in short easy sentences, and allow plenty of time for your loved one to communicate their thoughts to you. Again, ask short open-ended questions, “Why was that such a happy vacation?” Have a slow conversation about pleasant things.
When doing any of the above activities with your loved one, our caregivers recommend setting aside some time in advance so you don’t feel rushed or tired. Be patient, speak easily, keep sentences short, don’t interrupt, and make the practice session as pleasant as possible. Notice what works well and what doesn’t so you can adjust as you go along.
For more information about caring for a senior stroke survivor, reach out to Home Care Assistance of North Houston today. We proudly provide home care North Houston families trust, and have a team of highly trained and compassionate stroke caregivers available for hourly and live-in care. Call us today at 832-412-1345 to request your complimentary in-home consultation with a friendly and experienced Care Manager.