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      Social participation for older people with aphasia: the impact of communication disability on friendships.

      Topics in stroke rehabilitation

      Age Factors, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Aphasia, psychology, rehabilitation, Case-Control Studies, Educational Status, Humans, Interpersonal Relations, Middle Aged, Qualitative Research, Sex Factors, Social Behavior, Social Support

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          The language changes experienced by a person with aphasia following a stroke often have sudden and longlasting negative impact on friendships. Friendship relationships are core to social engagement, quality of life, and emotional well-being. The aims of this study were to describe everyday communication with friends for older people with and without aphasia and to examine the nature of actual friendship conversations involving a person with aphasia. This naturalistic inquiry drew data from two phases of research: a participant observation study of 30 older Australians, 15 of whom had aphasia following a stroke, and a collective case study using stimulated recall to examine friendship conversations involving an older person with aphasia. People with aphasia communicated with fewer friends and had smaller social networks. "Friendship" was a core domain of communication for older people and participation in leisure and educational activities was focal in everyday communication with friends. Case study data of conversations between three older people with aphasia and their friends illuminated features of "time," the role of humour, and friends having shared interests. Aphasia has been found to impact on friendships. A need exists for research and intervention programs to address communication with friends for older people with aphasia.

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