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Working with Dementia patients I see a lot of language and communication problems. One of the more common problems is Aphasia, this could be imparement of speech, language comprehension, or recognition of written words, or all three. Sometimes Aphasia is also accompanied by swallowing difficulties.

There a two major types of Aphasia, Broca’s and Wernicke’s, both have their own unique characteristics.

People with Broca’s often speak in a very short and to the point manner. They can sometimes understand what others are saying, and can be aware of their own mistakes when speaking. An example of what someone may say is: “lunch now” They could mean to say “I dont want to eat lunch now.”  Or  “Are you making lunch now?” Broca’s is usually present when there is a paralysis in the right hemisphere of the brain.

Those who have Wernicke’s speak in nonsensical, long sentences with little or no meaning. they are not aware what others are saying or their own mistakes. People with Wernicke’s will invent words, this is called a “neologism.” An example of what this may sound like is: “Well, aren’t you a snoggering theatre.” Or “Mushle the reticulator up there or it won’t cumberlate!” One of the patients I care for speaks out loud all day, inventing some very interesting and sometimes entertaining combinations of words. When you speak to this patient you will get a response and can carry “conversation” though neither of you know what the heck the other is saying! I find this patient responds better to facial expressions and exaggerated body language.

I have included a couple links if you would like to read further:

Aphasia Institute Canada

Aphasia Hope Foundation