Seniors and AAC
Seniors and AAC is an interesting mash-up of acute needs, long term needs, and the natural process of aging that affects cognition, language and hearing. The biggest addition to the wheelhouse when dealing with AAC in the senior population is the end of life discussions and the role AAC can play in that. This population will primarily have acquired disorders and many will not have a trajectory in which they will return to their prior capacities AND it’s overlayed with the natural decline in memory, cognition, language and hearing.
Seniors + Technology = Disaster?
Not so much! There are many low tech supports we can provide and ways in which we’re tasked with teaching them the power communication still has for them. And yeah, high tech might not be the best choice for some seniors, but in the age of all the fancy things, we have to remember the power of the lower tech devices.
But my grandma doesn’t even own a cell phone, she definitely can’t work an iPad…
Well that may be true, but it’s worth a try sometimes! She might have a couple more good stories to share! But if they genuinely don’t want to use it, let it be and provide them other means to communicate in a way that needs and major decisions can be made.
My granddad can’t hear or remember anything so how could this help him?
A lot of his life now is out of his control, what he eats, his schedule, everything! When we give a way to communicate even if it’s to say “These peas are gross” or “I don’t want that” we’re still allowing him to have some control over his life and maintain dignity.
If someone’s about to pass away, aren’t there more important things to worry about?
If someone’s about to pass away, aren’t there more important things to worry about? Fair point. Speech therapy isn’t going to be at the top of the list of providers a senior needs to see if they are actively passing away, but if we’d intervened earlier we may be giving them the chance to say a real goodbye to their family and friends and that could be priceless.