The holiday season is in full swing, and you might be feeling concerned about how to take care of your loved one with language and/or communication challenges, such as aphasia due to stroke.
Believe it or not, this season is the perfect time to practice language and communication skills with your loved one. Here are a few tips for making the holidays merry with your loved ones:
Create a Schedule:
Writing down your daily activities will help your loved one know what to expect. A visual schedule and checklist or whiteboard can help ease anxiety during holiday activities.
Listen to Music:
Music can be magical. People with communication challenges following a stroke can often sing better than they can speak. Singing familiar songs can facilitate expressive verbal memory and positively impact cognitive recovery.
Individuals with communication challenges can often sing words that they cannot otherwise articulate. This holiday, sing all of your holiday favorites together.
Say Goodbye to Isolation:
Speech disorders can result in a feeling of isolation. Your loved one wants to be invited and included. Whenever possible, involve your loved one in decisions about holiday traditions. For example, ask them where certain decorations should go, and which foods should be served at the family dinner. To facilitate their involvement, use visual cues like a picture of the object you’re discussing or the item itself. This process can make it easier for him or her to make a selection.
Ask for Help:
Once a dish has been selected, ask your family member to help you cook. We recommend following a simple recipe. Presenting real objects or pictures will make this process a lot easier for your loved one. Additionally, make sure you have plenty of time, as communication comes easier when they are not rushed. Try to avoid speaking over or for your family member. Also, try not to speak down to your family member. You can do this by keeping your own speech simple.
Take time to look at holiday photo cards from family and friends together. Memories of important people and places can facilitate memories, and help your loved one to expand their utterances into basic sentences.
Individuals with language and cognitive disorders can become easily overwhelmed in crowds of people and noisy environments. You may opt to shop with your family member online by using the online pictures to make decisions on what to buy, rather than heading out to the stores together. This way, you can take your time and not have to rush.
Reduce the Stress:
Schedule in quiet time for both you and your loved one. Find a quiet spot in your home and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea together. Keep in mind that your loved one may pick up on your stress level if you have too much on your to-do list.
Connect with a Support Group:
Find a local or online support group related to your loved one’s unique needs. These groups offer a supportive environment for loved ones and caregivers. Plus, it’s the perfect community to share tips and tricks for managing the season together – no one knows better than other caregivers.
Don’t let the holiday season get your loved one down. Give the gift of speech this holiday season with Lingraphica’s comprehensive solutions for adults with speech and communication challenges.
Want a copy of these tips to keep with you or share? Download them here!