As Mom’s dementia evolved her language skills changed, and while others seemed not to understand what she was trying to communicate when she spoke, I often found it relatively easy to read between the lines and “get” her meaning. At the time, I didn’t know why or how I was able to decipher what often sounded like gibberish, but I instinctively knew she knew what she was trying to say; she was simply unable to locate the words.
Recognizing the symptoms of aphasia, even though I didn’t initially know the technical term for the condition, allowed me to communicate with Mom using words and language for much longer than I otherwise would have. It also helped me to remain patient and to listen more carefully and more fully, which in turn fostered a deeper connection between us. It produced amazing conversations about love, how music helps longevity and more.
Being able to discern the underlying meaning behind the jumbled words that may result from aphasia is an important component of seeing dementia and the people who live with it in a different light, and thus reducing the practice of inappropriately sedating them with antipsychotic medication.
This excellent TEDed video on aphasia is a great reference full of useful information about aphasia and how it manifests. A “must watch” for dementia care partners.