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How can I help someone with aphasia?

You may have seen in the news that Bruce Willis is retiring from acting because he has been diagnosed with asphasia. You will know who Bruce Willis is but do you know what asphasia is?

Sometimes you may come across people who have difficulty in speaking, understanding others, reading, writing and using numbers. They may have difficulty with having conversations, expressing emotions, asking questions or answering communications. They may have asphasia.

Asphasia is a communication disability which is caused by damage or changes to the networks within the brain which control communication. These live in the left hand side of the brain. It is often a symptom of dementia, stroke or brain trauma. Whilst many people will think that aphasia is a condition for the older generations young children, teenagers and young adults can also be affected. Sometimes aphasia is temporary for example after a stroke but more often it is a progressive condition which will worsen over time. There is no cure for aphasia and treatments and their effectiveness differ for each person living with the condition.

In a world where everything we do is dependant upon communication a diagnosis of aphasia can be devastating. Self confidence may be shattered, people may withdraw from the once active life they lead, work can be affected and personal relationships may alter. the simplest of tasks become problematic. Signing your name, understanding letters and speaking on the telephone may quickly become things which are no longer manageable.

A diagnosis of asphasia is a prompt to review things, specifically whether anyone has the ability to assist with communication and decision making. In England no-one has authority to communicate or make decisions on behalf of another regardless of whether you are husband and wife or parent and child. Your family needs to have written authority to do this and that authority is in the form of a lasting power of attorney. These authorities can be completed to provide support and assistance with decision making for financial matters or health matters and will last whether someone has capacity to make their own decisions or not. They will allow your family to sign cheques, transfer money, speak to the bank or utility companies. They will also allow your family to discuss things with GPs, social workers and other clinicians, make decisions about where someone lives and, in the most serious of circumstances, make decisions about whether someone receives treatment to keep them alive.

As long as you are over eighteen you can make a lasting power of attorney. Make sure it is not too late to ensure your family can help you when you need it. If you need to discuss your situation or preparing lasting powers of attorney please give us a call on 01622 843729 to make use of our free fifteen minute information call.


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