The problem with Aphasia is it’s very subjective, what could be fine for one person could be really difficult for another. So always ask the person with Aphasia if they’re happy to go before you venture out, still now I need to control my exit. If I can’t get out of a situation I try to not do that thing, panic attacks and agoraphobia are real and very scary to me.
I have a big problem with sound (ahh telephones!) as I struggle to differentiate different layer sounds. I always have emergency ear plugs in my handbag. Imagine you’re in a coffee shop. In that shop there is the coffee machine, several people having different conversations, background music, clicking of cups and plates, staff servicing you… And then on top of that you want to have a conversation with someone, to process and understand the question and respond – it’s tough!
7 suggestions of places to take someone with Aphasia:
1) One of my favourite place is the Zoo!! It’s outdoors, visual, gives you something to enjoy with or without words and it’s suitable for any age.
2) The Beach. I love the beach it feels like freedom, a good choice if it’s not too busy. Always my happy place.
3) A walk in a park. Please make sure they don’t go on their own to start with. I got the shock of my life trying to cross a road for the first time because I couldn’t place where the car noise was coming from.
4) Paint pottery with a friend, it can still be noisy with chat but if you’re concentrating you don’t really need a full on conversation. You’ll your friend to get the staff to show you how too, but maybe you can copy your friend.
5) Garden centre’s aren’t just for old people, it’s tactile and can be a short trip. Maybe a good project could be something to grow. Tomatoes, runner beans, sunflowers, watercress – don’t do too much to start with. Multi task is tough with Aphasia.
6) An old architectural house or property – like a national trust property or Eden Project, they usually involve looking rather than talking, a cafe and a gift shop (I do like a good gift shop!)
7) Maybe there’s a quiet atteraction that is suitable to your local area. A pond, river or nature observe, maybe they do special events?