Purpose: It is important for professionals working with individuals with acquired neurogenic communication disorders to consider their clients' psychological well-being. Much is known about the significant emotional, social and psychological consequences of aphasia after stroke; however, little is known about the individuals' psychological well-being. This article reports the psychological well-being of community-dwelling older adults with chronic aphasia in the context of their unaffected peers.
Method: Thirty participants who were affected by aphasia and 75 unaffected participants completed the 24-item measure 'How I feel about myself' (drawn originally from Ryff C. Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of well-being. J Pers Soc Psychol 1989;57:1069-1081) and the 'Geriatric Depression Scale' (GDS) (Sheik J, Yesavage J. Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS): recent evidence and development of a shorter version. Clin Gerontol 1986;5:165-172).
Results: Individuals with aphasia after stroke had a statistically similar range and average psychological well-being as the unaffected population, with the exception of lower environmental mastery (independence) and lower mood. There was a range of well-being, suggesting that a number of individuals (affected and unaffected) had low positive psychological well-being. Many individuals with aphasia also reported restricted physical functioning.
Conclusions: Many persons with chronic aphasia need support to manage the demands and responsibilities of their everyday lives and raise their mood. Clinicians need to be aware of this possibility and formally assess all persons with aphasia, as well as explore the potential impact of physical limitations. Identifying low well-being in older adults is important for all professionals working with the ageing population. The implications for speech and language therapy and for multi-disciplinary research and cross-sector joint working (health, social and community services) are discussed.