My Mother

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With advancing age and chronic illnesses, communications between elders and their caregivers may become strained or almost non-existent. Regardless of cognitive impairment, my personal caregiving commitment is to communicate, communicate, and communicate some more with elders in my life, including my beloved octogenarian mother to whom I am a full-time caregiver. There is always something to talk about unless caregivers choose otherwise. Clinically diagnosed Alzheimer's, other dementias, Tourette's syndrome and strokes are just the tip of the medical iceberg of chronic diseases potentially affecting elders' communication skills. Strokes

Strokes, alone, may manifest as mental confusion, speech and other language problems. In fact, one of several warning signs of a stroke can be mental confusion, inability to reason or understand words spoken by others, or sudden-onset inability to speak. The wider effects of strokes on the body further hinders and complicates non-verbal communication skills, making it more complex for caregivers to engage in meaningful interactions with elders who are stroke survivors. Strokes begin as an interruption of blood flow to the brain. The affected brain cells die due to oxygen deprivation. Depending on the part(s) of the brain affected by the stroke, survivors may become increasingly forgetful and appear out-of-touch with their surroundings. For some stroke survivors, facial expressions tied to the elder's emotions are suddenly non-existent or confusing for caregivers to interpret. A stroke survivor may laugh or cry at seemingly inappropriate times. Such examples do not represent the entire spectrum of communication problems for stroke survivors, including elders. It is very important to note that strokes are no respecter of age. However, this content speaks to eldercare issues, in this case, chronic diseases that may significantly disrupt caregiver-elder communications. Only Caregivers With Special Skills Need Apply

Even without...
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