When learning to communicate with someone with aphasia, there are many tips and techniques to learn. However, there is one point that is crucial to success regardless of what techniques you use: staying patient. Not only is it essential, it’s often the most difficult point.

The first step in staying patient is to acknowledge and accept that communication has changed. It has changed for the person with aphasia, but it has also changed for all of that person’s communication partners. You must learn a new way to communicate, and accept that it is the “new normal” for conversations. It will take time, and there will be frustrating moments. Even when communication is successful, it will likely be slower and look different than it used to.

Patience is important for everyone involved. The person with aphasia must be patient while they work on improving their language. They have to stay patient as they learn strategies to help them communicate when they are not able to get their message out. The communication partner must be patient while the person with aphasia creates their message. They must also be patient with themselves as they learn what methods of communication are most helpful.

The extension of patience is perseverance. Even when communication is difficult, being patient means also being persistent that you want to know what the person with aphasia has to say. One method to use is the PURE method.

All About The PURE Method

P: Positive Intent (“I know you’re trying to tell me something, and I really want to know what it is”).
U: Unsuccessful (“I’m having trouble understanding you right now.”)
R: Reasonable Alternative (“Can you point to it? Can you show me a picture? Would you like me to guess?”)
E: Example (“We got it! Next time, you can point to the kitchen to let me know we’re talking about dinner.”)

This method can be helpful when there is communication difficulty. It keeps the interaction positive and moving toward a solution, rather than giving up or simply getting frustrated. Although you might not be successful every single time, it demonstrates patience and persistence. Sometimes the best thing you can do is let the person with aphasia know that you care about what they have to say.

Caregiver talking on phone with elderly love one looking on.

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