Communication boards are simple yet extremely effective tools for helping stroke survivors express their needs and emotions. One reason these boards are so useful is because they provide a great deal of flexibility. Communication boards can even be as simple as pieces of paper with a few words or images on them. Seniors point to the images or words that best express their thoughts so everyone understands what they’re trying to communicate. Here’s how to effectively use a communication board with an aging loved one who’s recovering after a stroke.
Consider Your Loved One’s Abilities
Since communication boards are customizable, start by finding the one that best fits your loved one’s needs. Start by thinking about your loved one’s overall health. A senior with poor vision may need larger images and letters than someone with the ability to see fairly clearly. The effects of the stroke on your loved one’s brain should also influence how you set up the board. For instance, if your loved one has limited mobility, a board with images set far apart might be optimal so he or she can point to the desired message using his or her eyes.
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 home care service. Hot Springs families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.
Keep It Simple at First
As with most parts of stroke recovery, you should start off simple and small. You can try using a board with a smiley face that represents “yes” answers and a sad face that signifies your loved one doesn’t want something. You could also just use a couple of words that allow him or her to respond to simple questions.
Demonstrate How to Use the Board
The confusion that lingers after a stroke may cause your loved one to need extra time and help with learning how to use the board. Try doing a few demonstrations of your own to show how to point or glance at the images. Modeling how to use the board can help your loved one understand the purpose along with the actions he or she needs to take to communicate with everyone.
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 senior care. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably.
Add Personally Meaningful Images
Your loved one will be more interested in using the board if it has a personal sense of meaning for him or her. Adding personally meaningful images also helps you encourage your loved one to move beyond simple one-word answers. You can make your own board with pictures of family members and other caregivers that allows your loved one to request help from a specific person or ask for certain people to visit. Your loved one can also use a communication board as a menu to let you know what activity he or she would like to try or which food looks good for the next meal.
Make Sure to Keep Boards Nearby
Your loved one’s communication boards need to be accessible anytime he or she needs to communicate. If your loved one is mobile, boards should be located within his or her reach. Create a storage place near the bed that everyone knows about so home caregivers can continue to encourage your loved one to develop his or her communication abilities.
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, Conway 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. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (501) 764-1312 to learn more about our customized care plans.