Language and communication difficulties are common in Alzheimer’s disease and, of course, language-led dementia (primary progressive aphasia). Communication difficulties are highlighted as one of the biggest burdens for family members caring for loved ones with dementia. This is often associated with a lack of connection, a loss of relationship and guilt by the family members. This study reports on qualitative interviews conducted with eight people with dementia and 10 family members on their opinions of the involvement of family members in speech and language therapy sessions alongside their relatives with dementia. Thematic analysis identified two main themes across both interviews with people with dementia and their relatives: 1) perceived benefits of the intervention; and 2) lack of previous information on communication difficulties. All participants felt the speech and language therapy sessions had resulted in improvements in communication and valued the support. Yet participants also reported little previous information given on communication difficulties prior to the study, and expressed uncertainty about the future, particularly in accessing further support services. It seems logical that people with communication difficulties be referred to speech and language therapists, yet this is often not the case in dementia. This article emphasises the value of referring people with dementia to speech and language therapy, not only for the people with dementia but also for their caregivers, who spend each day trying to work out how best to communicate with their loved ones with little guidance on how to do this.

Lost for words: Perspectives and experiences of people with primary progressive aphasia and Alzheimer’s disease and their families of participation in a lexical retrieval intervention.
Beales A, Bates K, Cartwright J, Whitworth A.
2019;Early Online:1-10.
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Anna Volkmer

UCL, London, UK.

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