Dementia and Language Disorders

October 7, 2014
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Have you noticed that your loved one with dementia often has difficulty speaking and naming objects or often has trouble finding the words they want to say? This type of language deficit is commonly seen in people with frontal lobe dementia. It is also commonly seen preceding a stroke. This language disorder is called Aphasia and is categorized by problems speaking, understanding and naming common objects. There are a few different types of Aphasia. Alzheimer’s and Dementia Weekly lists the different types as:
Global aphasia: People with this type of aphasia may be completely unable to speak, name objects, repeat phrases or follow commands.
Broca’s aphasia: The person knows what they want to say, but can’t find the right words (can’t get the words out).
Wernicke’s aphasia: A person with this aphasia can seldom understand what’s being said or control what they’re saying.”
They also break down the types of Aphasia associated with frontal lobe dementia into two categories:

1. Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) is described as “Non-fluent Aphasia,” because the patient loses fluency in their speech. It is particularly characterized by:
● Hesitant speech
● A decrease in talking
● Difficulty understanding complex sentences
Keep in mind that they lose their ability to speak, but not their comprehension.

2. Semantic Dementia is described as “Fluent Aphasia.” It is characterized by:
● The person can get out the volume of words with fluent speech
● Difficulty with word meaning and naming familiar or objects
● Talk around what they are trying to tell you
These patients have few behavioral symptoms or functional deficits in the early stages.

When interacting with a loved one that is experiencing aphasia, keep in mind how confusing and frustrating it is for them. Alzheimer’s & Dementia Weekly also provides care tips for helping a loved one with aphasia. The care tips and entire article about aphasia can be found on their website: It is also important to note that if you or your loved one is experiencing the symptoms of aphasia listed above, it is advised to consult with a medical doctor.

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