What are Acquired Communication Disorders?
We find many older people with DSI have other communication problems that have been “hidden” by their dual sensory impairment. For example people with DSI who have suffered a stroke or have dementia making communication extremely challenging for them and those supporting them.
Acquired Communication Disorders (ACD) affect many older people, whose ability to communicate is consequently significantly affected. This could be due to a stroke leading to aphasia, their hearing and/ or sight deteriorating, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or dementia.
Most people with an ACD also have a lifelong and often deteriorating condition. After initial help from speech and language therapy services, finding continuing support is often very difficult.
This leads to many people and their families and carers becoming isolated and frustrated as roles and responsibilities within the family change – the wage earner becomes the carer and cook, or they lose status now they can no longer work or communicate effectively.
Despite low awareness there is a clear and urgent need for training. In the UK it is estimated that of 150,000 new stroke victims each year, 50,000 have a communication problem; as many as 250,000 have aphasia (difficulty understanding or processing speech or language); around 120,000 people have Parkinson’s disease. These are conservative numbers and they rise dramatically with age, especially as more of us are living longer.