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Very hard to understand, what can I do?

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Deenie77: Lesson learned then. Never ignore a possible T.I.A.
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Two thoughts.

Could be water on the lungs and going into pneumonia. X-rays and medication for that.

Also try to get a swallow evaluation done. When this happened with my 91-year-old client, the evaluation revealed a pocket had developed in the back of his throat where water and food was getting caught in it causing a reflex and a choking. Those are my only two ideas. Good luck.
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The neurologist sent a social worker here to evaluate him but that didn’t work, he performed like a healthy young man instead of a 80 year old. He was worn out when she left!
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Lymie61 Jan 2019
That's interesting...elder patients often rise to the occasion, Mom does that to us often during doctors appointments but her Primary in particular is very aware that she covers well and can rise to the occasion so she looks to us for ques and or affirmation to Mom's answers and then makes a judgment on whatever the topic of the moment is. Presumably the neurologist works with older patients who have your fathers issues so be sure to be clear about the differences. Sometimes just the time of day can make a big difference and sometimes while a patient is capable of speaking more clearly it is a lot of work for him that he doesn't really feel like putting effort into so when they are around those they are most comfortable with and the people who know what they want or can figure it out without them speaking clearly they just relax and don't expend the energy. I know this doesn't help you much and I would still encourage you to get some medical expertise who will listen to you and look for ways to help, at least push for some sort of diagnosis that makes sense to you so you have a sense of why this is happening and where it might be going. I'm not sure a social worker is the right person to make a diagnosis or even determine if some sort of ST is in order. Usually a social worker is sent out to see if there are any programs or assistance the patient qualifies for and it's combined with a visiting nurse assessment who would then order a speech assessment or anything else they see a possible need for (or you tell them there might be a need for) did the neurologist say why a social worker and what they were assessing or why the neurologist or someone from his office wasn't assessing him?
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Deenie77, in your profile you said, "I must do this alone to the end!" But you don't need to do it alone. First, I suggest you have your husband's doctor evaluate him for hospice. If he qualifies for hospice care, Medicare will pay 100% of the cost of some in-home assistance, supplies and equipment. Second, as suggested by JoAnn29, your husband can qualify for Medicaid assistance (for care at home or in a facility) while leaving some of your joint income and assets for you as the community spouse. Third, if you or your husband served any time in the military during a war, you may qualify for an Aid and Attendance Pension that would help you pay for caregiver expenses. This is a difficult journey for you and your husband -- I hope your children and grandchildren are helping some and that you can get additional help from the above suggestions.
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The first indication I'm thinking of with "garbled speech" is did the person suffer a stroke or a transient ischemic attack?
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Deenie77 Jan 2019
Yes but many years ago not recently. Dr thinks he has had several TIAs.
i think he has had dementia symptoms for 40 years but I ignored little signs. He often stared out in space as if stuck in deep thoughts. When it occurred while driving I would ask what are you thinking about? Never got an answer.
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Listen very closely to try and determine if there is a need in what is trying to be said or if it is just an attempt at conversation. I know it is very difficult but there is some possibility there especially as you learn to interpret the sounds. I always got something for dad to drink, walked him to the bathroom and got a snack. This kind of covered everything he may have been asking for and as time went on I was able to guess some things correctly. It’s not perfect but we can only try to do our best.
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Deenie77 Jan 2019
It seems to be conversational. I have been saying okay or that’s right and smile but he has been in a very bad mood today. He says home often and gets angry when I don’t drive him 500 miles home. I tried a drive around town but when we got back he remained in the car waiting for me to get him home.
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Shake your head and smile all of the while, Like you do Understand.
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Narrow it down then ask yes or no questions.
Blessings
hgn
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eval from speech therapist?
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Amother idea is to create an album with pictures of various food items, a toilet, grooming activites, etc, that he can point to.
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love this!!!!
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Perhaps can he write down what he/she is trying to say?
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Dear Deenie 77,
I am too in this horrible situation now, as I watch my husband deteriorate daily and replace words with sounds. I told myself that I will patiently do my best even though I am not able to understand most of the time. Additionally, I cannot ask him clarifying questions, because I realized, he is also loosing the ability to understand what we say...I often show him concrete things or pictures. Instead of just saying “ do you want fruit?” I hold an apple or grapes when I talk and he gets the meaning. Or I run around showing him this or that, until he says yes. If nothing works I say “ that’s OK. We will talk about it later” and I refocus him on something new.
He studies speech many hours every day and he thinks he is doing better...His writing though, has become better, which helps him a lot. He carries a little notebook with him with family names, telephones, etc and point to the word if he cannot say it. He feels successful this way... When he makes mistakes, it breaks my heart, but I do not correct him. What for?
I encourage him because WE ALL NEED HOPE to keep us going.
We watch musicals on TV,
like High School Musical 3, Mary Poppins Returns, Grease etc. They are fun and uplifting.
I have on Amazon Alexa, selected happy music 🎶 in the house and lots of lights around. He enjoys that, he joins in and the house atmosphere is pleasant for both of us.
I think this is an on going balance between witnessing his deterioration and my constant
strive to treat him as “ normal” as possible with the respect any human deserves. It is not easy!!
I follow the motto “ do your best and pray for the rest”.
Sending you wishes for acceptance, patience and calmness, all of which are gifts to our loved one as well as gifts to ourselves.
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Deenie77 Jan 2019
I love your motto.
He cannot comprehend TV anymore even musicals or shows like Mayberry which he loved at one time even called Barney his hero. He only pays attention to the banners that goes across on news channels. He reads out loud these but on anything else he ignores.
talking seems to be his problem as he has said everyone talks too fast. It makes him nervous.
thank all of you that replied, I guess his garbled speech is just another part of this illness which I have to accept. He has lost his nouns/names of most things, calls them something else or points.
Blessings to all.
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We treat it a bit like charades. I listen and if I don't have a clue, then I ask him to try again and keep it simple. If I still don't understand, I ask him what the subject is and then maybe I can figure it out with questions. I like the idea of breathing and smiling to relax as it gets harder if he stresses out. I hope he never stops trying to communicate with me. The other thing we do is read out loud as he is able to do that just fine and it helps with language/motor skills.
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To some degree the answer can depend on the cause, is there a diagnosis for the communication issue? Has a doctor been involved in the problem yet? I know this is said a lot here but it could be as simple as a UTI reeking havoc, Is the patient healthy in all other ways or confined to bed and this is the next system letting go? I ask that way only because it might make a big difference in how much and how aggressively you work to improve the speech, help them learn new communication skills or simply adapt. Can the patient "learn" new methods to help communicate, are they even trying to communicate enough to want to find other ways, sometimes patients have no idea they aren't making sense or being understood and have no sense that people aren't understanding so it isn't bothering them they way it is you. From what I have seen when they are trying to communicate a need or are aware that they aren't getting the response they want/getting their point across ("I'm hungry") it's fairly obvious by either their agitation or visible frustration but other times they are perfectly happy carrying on the conversation they are having, appropriate response from you or not, this is when nods and huh maybe an occasional giggle seem to work best.

If however they are trying to communicate their motor skills just aren't enabling it there are tools a speech therapist can teach you both and the better you know them the more you might be able to figure out what they are trying to say and help a bit. Also offering before there is a need and using yes or no answer questions can help keep them from getting so frustrated, "would you like me to get some fresh water?", "how about using the bathroom"?, "I'm hungry how about you"? "I was thinking about making tuna fish would you like that? No, how about PB&J?"
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Invisible Jan 2019
I asked if it would be beneficial for him to have a speech therapist and they said no. Wish I knew one.
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I find with my dad if he is excited or stressed in any way it comes out worse. I ask him to breathe deeply with me for a few breaths while smiling, crack a joke you both will find amusing to take the panic of the moment away, and ask him to try it again slowly and try to get some clues. The more he is frustrated the worse the speech, so for me I’ve found making it no big deal with a gentle, “it’s ok try it again” can help. Hugs go out to you, I know how hard this is on you!
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Patience in trying to understand the person. Daddy lost his ability to really talk...and it was heartbreaking. Taking time to sit by him and keeping him calm helped some, but it simply is one more awful way this disease robs a person, inch by inch.
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If this is new, I agree that he should be looked at ASAP.

If an ongoing, slowly increasing problem, then I feel bad for you. It's very frustrating, no doubt. Probably not, but is he capable of communicating through other methods, like in writing or pointing at something?

I wonder if part of it is the Parkinson's. My great uncle has it and he is very hard to hear, especially on the phone. Like no oomph behind his voice so it does not carry at all.

Otherwise, I guess you just have to try to make sure his needs are met and maybe that'll have to be enough if there's nothing that can really be done.
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Is this sudden? He may have had a stroke which can be treated at the hospital with prompt ER assist! Get him there if this is sudden.
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Levans2008 Jan 2019
Yes if speaking garbled all of a sudden . That is 911 call Time is brain! That is stroke....
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Not much you can do for the speech. The desease has made it to the part of the brain which controls speech.

You may want to talk to Medicaid about your monthly income. You would be the Community spouse. Your total income would be split depending on what you would need to live. You will not be left impoverished. Your husband may fit the criteria this way.
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