Aphasia.

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One of my favorite residents has aphasia, which essentially means she can’t communicate verbally. I also refer to this as “nonverbal,” because she does try to communicate how she’s feeling through body language. She loves to dance, smile, and sometimes uses simple words like “yes” or “no”. She’s very pleasant and is almost always smiling silently, so I try hard to engage her in activities. Today we went to a restaurant and I sat next to her. She looked at her menu for a while and then offered it to me. “Do you want this?” she asked.

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Rachael Wonderlin has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of two published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. She owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting company.

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