Optimizing a Communication Board for a Stroke Survivor

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Family caregivers often need help communicating with seniors who have survived strokes because of the language limitations and memory problems caused by the brain attacks. Communication boards are low-tech, but the tools give seniors the ability to interact with others despite their communication challenges. Here are some tips for using a communication board with a senior loved one during stroke recovery.

Choose the Right Type

Your loved one’s limitations as well as board availability will generally determine which device you choose. If you have the budget for tools with laser pointers and automatic features, these boards could be more comfortable for your loved one to use. However, whiteboards, doodle devices, and regular pens and pads can be just as useful during the stroke recovery process. Keep in mind some boards rely on hand functions to operate, and the effects of a stroke can cause part of the body to be weak or paralyzed, so the board shouldn’t require too many physical movements at the beginning of recovery.

Test the Board Out

Family caregivers should show other family members and friends how to use the new communication board. If you’ve purchased the board, the instructions should be included. Thorough explanations can help other caregivers develop effective strategies. Once everyone is familiar with the board and ready to use it as a communication device, you’ll need to begin teaching your loved one how to use it. Explain how the communication board works. Take your time and speak clearly because your loved one’s receptive language skills may be severely impaired. Some details to discuss include the board’s layout, its features, and the setup process.

Experienced professional caregivers can often provide tips for communicating with senior stroke survivors. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional senior care. Milford families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.

Keep the Board Accessible

Older adults need a lot of practice to enhance the cognitive functions damaged by strokes. The more they use communication boards, the more exposure they’ll have to different words, expressions, pictures, and other visual aspects of the boards. Having a communication board nearby allows your loved one to communicate without becoming frustrated and angry when cognitive limitations prevent him or her from speaking. The objective is to use the board all the time, especially during the beginning of recovery.

Having a caregiver close by can give your loved one peace of mind while he or she recovers from a stroke. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Milford Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.

What to Include?

Communication boards should be created to make daily life less challenging and enhance cognition. When choosing the type of photos that will be displayed on each board, make sure those images relate to your loved one’s life. For instance, boards for senior stroke survivors should include medication management tips and photos that display how the medicines are making your loved one feel. You can make adjustments accordingly, including sharing the information with your loved one’s primary care physician. Efficient communication boards also display:

• Emotions
• Foods 
• Physical activities
• Ailments
• Body parts 
• Clothing and accessories 
• Animals

Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality homecare. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably. Home Care Assistance will work with you to customize a care plan that’s just right for your loved one’s needs. Call us today at (203) 444-8575 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.