Corewood Homecare Blog
What is aphasia?
Aphasia is a communication disorder that results from damage to the parts of the brain that contain language. Individuals who experience damage to the right side of the brain may have additional difficulties beyond speech and language issues. Aphasia may cause difficulties in speaking, listening, reading, and writing, but does not affect intelligence.
What causes aphasia?
Aphasia is most often caused by stroke. However, any disease or damage to the parts of the brain that control language can cause aphasia. These include brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, and progressive neurological disorders.
What are some signs or symptoms of aphasia?
Difficulty producing language:
- Have trouble coming up with the words they want to say
- Substitute the intended word with another word that may be related in meaning to the target
- Use made-up words
- Have difficulty putting words together to form sentences
- String together made-up words and real words fluently but without making sense
Difficulty understanding language:
- Misunderstand what others say, especially when they speak fast
- Find it hard to understand speech in background noise or in group situations
- Misinterpret jokes and take the literal meaning of figurative speech
- Difficulty reading and writing:
- Difficulty reading forms, pamphlets, books, and other written material
- Problems spelling and putting words together to write sentences
- Difficulty understanding number concepts
How is aphasia diagnosed
The speech-language pathologist evaluates the individual with a variety tools to determine the type and severity of aphasia. It includes assessment of:
- Auditory Comprehension: understanding words, questions, directions, and stories
- Verbal Expression: producing automatic sequences, naming objects, describing pictures, responding to questions, and having conversations
- Reading and Writing: understanding or producing letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs
- Functional Communication: using gestures, drawing, pointing, or other supportive means of communication when he/she has trouble getting a point across verbally
What treatments are available for people with aphasia?
There are many types of treatment available for individuals with aphasia. The type of treatment depends on the needs and goals of the person with aphasia.
What can I do to communicate better with the person with aphasia?
1. Get the person's attention before you start speaking.
2. Maintain eye contact and watch the person’s body language and use of gesture.
3. Minimize or eliminate background noise.
4. Keep your voice at a normal level.
5. Keep communication simple, but adult. Don't "talk down" to the person with aphasia.
6. Simplify your sentence structure and emphasize key words.
7. Give the individual time to speak. Resist the urge to finish sentences or offer words.
8. Communicate with drawings, gestures, writing, and facial expressions in addition to speech.
9. Encourage the person to use drawings, gestures, and writing.
10. Use yes and no questions rather than open-ended questions.
11. Engage in normal activities whenever possible.
12. Encourage independence and avoid being overprotective.
May is Stroke Awareness Month, and so we wanted to summarize a few key facts about stroke in one convenient spot!
Read on and spread the word – everyone should know stroke warning signs, the life-altering effects of stroke, and what kind of treatment stroke survivors can do to regain control of their lives!
What is a stroke?
- An ischemic stroke occurs when a clot blocks a vessel in the brain, which prevents blood supply to any areas of the brain supplied by that vessel.
- A hemorrhagic stroke, on the other hand, is when a vessel ruptures. Oddly enough, blood is poisonous to the brain, so if any parts of the brain are exposed to blood during a hemorrhage, those parts of the brain will be damaged.
What causes a stroke and how can I avoid it?
- Many disorders, such as AVM, Moyamoya, and cardiovascular disease (just to name a few) can cause strokes.
- Lifestyle risks include being overweight and inactive, overuse of alcohol, and use of illicit drugs.
- Other medical risks include high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, and sleep apnea.
- What are the symptoms of a stroke?
- Face drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven?
- Arms weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech difficulty: Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "The sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
Time to Call 9-1-1:
If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared.
Additional symptoms of a stroke include: trouble seeing in one or both eyes, trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination, or a sudden severe headache with no known cause.
What happens after a stroke?
- Language (speaking and/or understanding; written and/or spoken)
*** This is different for everyone. You may have trouble with one, some, or all the ones listed above.
How can stroke survivors regain control of their lives after a stroke, and gain back skills for daily living?
• Therapy has been proven to help recovery. There are many available apps that individuals can use at home in addition to in-clinic therapy.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US, and each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer.
Skin cancer can affect anyone, regardless of skin color, gender or age. In fact, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. These facts may be alarming, but because skin cancer is mainly a behavioral disease, it is highly preventable.
About 86 percent of melanoma and 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. That’s why embracing proper sun protection is critical all year-round. The good news? Skin cancer can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to prevent skin cancer or detect it early on.
Follow these Prevention Guidelines to stay sun-safe:
- Seek the shade (especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.)
- Do not burn.
- Avoid tanning and never use UV tanning beds.
- Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
- Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
- See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.
How can Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month make a difference?
- Encourage families to adopt good habits together, like wearing sunscreen and limiting their time in the sun.
- Motivate teachers and administrators to teach kids about the harm of UV radiation and why it’s important to protect yourself.
- Identify youth leaders in your community who can talk to their peers about taking steps to prevent skin cancer.
- Partner with a local hospital, state fair, or similar organization to host a skin cancer screening event.
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative condition and after Alzheimer's is the second most common disease in the United States.
Neurodegenerative is a term which refers to a progressive loss of nerve cells and/or their function. Neurodegeneration from Parkinson's disease can give rise to a wide spectrum of symptoms; symptoms can vary widely between people in terms of their type and severity.
Symptoms of Parkinson's disease include:
- difficulties with balance, swallowing, chewing and speaking
- sleep disruption
- psychological issues including problems with cognition, anxiety and depression
One of the most noticeable symptoms of Parkinson's disease is tremor in which the body makes involuntary quivering movements. As the disease progresses, symptoms can worsen. For example, over time a person may not be able to move, speak or swallow. This can often arise 4-8 years after the initial onset of Parkinson's disease. The cause of Parkinson's disease is unknown and there are no known successful treatments which can delay or stop its progression.
How can you help?
- Reach out to someone with Parkinson’s. If you know someone in your family, social circle or community with Parkinson’s, consider reaching out to them.
- Educate yourself and others. This disease is not limited to the tremor that mostly defines the general public’s understanding of the disease. What is less known is the pervasiveness of Parkinson’s, how it causes everything from mood disorder such as depression and anxiety, dementia, urinary incontinence, constipation, swallowing difficulties, pain and sleep disorders to name but a few.
- Raise money for research. Consider supporting fundraising events for Parkinson’s disease or raise money on your own accord. It takes a significant amount of money for a drug to make it from the lab to the pharmacy shelf.
Did you know insomnia is present at all ages and affects more people than you think?
What is insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is characterized by a difficulty of falling asleep and/or staying asleep. An insomniac will experience these occurrences at least 3 times a week.
There are two stages of insomnia:
- Acute insomnia
- Chronic insomnia
Acute insomnia is when these symptoms last less than a month. Chronic insomnia is when the symptomes persist more than a month.
Insomnia affects the quality and the quantity of sleep. This causes daytime sleepiness and fatigue. If this persists, feelings of irritability, anxiety or depression may occur.
Insomnia is very common for seniors. It affects almost 50% of adults 60 and older.
How do I know if I have insomnia?
Here are some of the most common symptoms of insomnia:
- Harder and/longer time falling asleep (more then 30-45 minutes),
- Internal clock changes,
- Trouble staying asleep, waking up more than 3 times in one night,
- Day and night confusion,
- Drowsiness and exhaustion felt throughout the days,
- Concentration or memory problems
The list above may help you or your loved one to identify insomnia. If you think you may have insomnia, contact a heath care provider.
What can cause insomnia?
The causes of insomnia in the elderly are divided in four groups:
Did you know that approximately one-third of cases of the most common cancers in the U.S. could be prevented by eating healthy, being active, and staying lean?
That's an estimated 374,000 cases of cancer in the United States that would never happen.
Corewood’s 3 Guidelines for Cancer Prevention can help you focus on what’s most important.
- Choose mostly plant foods, limit red meat and avoid processed meat.
- Be physically active every day in any way for 30 minutes or more.
- Aim to be a healthy weight throughout life.
Choose mostly plant foods, limit red meat and avoid processed meat. You already know that limiting high-calorie treats is a good idea. But did you know that if you try to prepare meals focused around vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans, you’ll help support your body against cancer?
Be physically active every day in any way for 30 minutes or more. Remember: Every day – in any way. That means you don’t need a gym membership – you just need to get your heart pumping. Being physically active for a total of least 30 minutes a day -- whether you’re walking, cleaning, dancing or hiking. Doing these activities will lower your risk for cancer.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States.
Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. The good news? Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices. Make a difference in your community: Spread the word about strategies for preventing heart disease and encourage people to live heart healthy lives.
What is Heart Disease?
It is a disorder of the blood vessels of the heart that can lead to heart attack. A heart attack happens when an artery becomes blocked, preventing oxygen and nutrients from getting to the heart. Heart disease is one of several cardiovascular diseases, which are diseases of the heart and blood vessel system. Other cardiovascular diseases include stroke, high blood pressure, angina (chest pain), and rheumatic heart disease.
January is National Glaucoma Awareness month.
This is an important time to spread the word about this sight-stealing disease. Glaucoma is called the “sneak thief of sight” due to having no noticeable symptoms in its early stages. Vision loss progresses at such a gradual rate that individuals affected by the condition are often unaware of it until their sight is compromised.
Currently, glaucoma is not a curable disease and most damage caused by the disease cannot be reversed. However, there are existing treatments that can slow the progression of the disease for most patients. Some of these treatments include:
- Prescription eyedrops – decrease eye pressure and improve eye fluid drainage.
- Oral medications – Common medication is carbonic anhydrase inhibitor
- Laser Surgery – Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty, Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty, Laser Peripheral Iridotomy, Cycloablation
- Filtering Surgery – Also known as a trabeculectomy, small opening created in the white of the eye to remove part of the trabecular meshwork.
- Drainage Tubes – small tubes inserted into the eye to assist with draining excess fluid.
- Electrocautery – minimally invasive procedure used to remove tissue from the travecular meshwork.
- Emerging Therapies – new drugs, surgical procedures and devices
Unfortunately, many older adults may find the holidays hectic, confusing, and even depressing, depending on their mental or physical conditions.
With all the “hustle and bustle” of the season, remember to be sensitive and loving. It is always best to plan for these occasions.
The good news is that everyone can help to make sure your loved ones enjoy the holidays by doing the following:
1. Take a stroll down memory lane. Many seniors enjoy speaking to their families about their previous experiences and memories. Younger family members and friends love to hear about how grandmother/grandfather lived her/his life “when I was your age.”. We suggest using pictures, videos, and even music to help stimulate their memories and share their experiences.
- For example – Create a collage of old photos in a Memory Book. This is a great activity for the family and gets everyone involved. Bring over some joyous Holiday music and have fun singing along.