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Non-Speech Based Pastoral Care: A Pastoral Care Program for Aged Care Residents with Little or No Ability to Speak

Elderly people living in residential care, who have lost their speech or who have only limited speech, are often marginalised. Cohen and Eisdorfer (1986) write, “When patients lose verbal competence, families tend to talk about the patient less as a person and more as an object; even when the patient is sitting in the same room” (Cohen and Eisdorfer 1986:153). Residents of aged care facilities often experience this from both families and staff. People do not mean to be unkind but someone who cannot speak properly is unconsciously perceived as being less than an adult human being. Aged care residents suffer greatly when they lose their speech in addition to losing other abilities.