Some people find communicating with the elderly to be endearing, while others find it frustrating. But, one thing that the majority of people have in common is the belief that communication with the senior population is any different than communicating with peers or children. In today’s post, we are going to review some helpful tips that will make communicating with the elderly more comfortable for them and more satisfying for you.
At Angels on Call Homecare, our staff has the training and expertise to work with the elderly population and meet their unique needs. We can help our patients, their families, and other caretakers learn the intricacies of effective communication with seniors. For all the in-home care you and your loved one need, contact us for an evaluation. With the details out of the way, let’s get back to the subject at hand.
1. Understand communication changes.
With age, many things change. Communication is no different. However, it is more common that the communication style of the senior hasn’t changed much, but the next generation communicates with each other differently and the generational gap poses a roadblock and can prevent the message from being delivered correctly and being heard the same way.
There are some physiological changes that take place that may affect the way the elderly hear and interpret spoken information, and processing times. Some medical and physical changes may interfere with communication, both speaking and understanding. It is important to understand these changes and how your communication style differs from the senior you are attempting to have a discussion with. Being aware of these differences can help you be a better communicator.
2. Mind your bias.
The younger generations tend to think that the older generations are slower or less able to hear and understand information. These generalities and bias can greatly impact the way that you communicate. Your bias can be heard and felt by those you attempt to communicate with, so be aware of your boas and mind it.
3. Slow down and be patient.
Slow down and take your time with communication. Discussions are not a race and not all speak has to be question and answer. Be patient with people and give them a chance to process your question and develop their answer. Then, allow them the time to respond without speaking over them or attempting to answer for them. Allow for the give and take of the encounter and actually have a conversation. Rushing results in poor communication in all settings.
4. Take the time to listen.
This is a good communication tip for all of your encounters and every discussion in every setting. Many people engage in a conversation and wait for their turn to respond. This does not allow you to absorb what you are hearing or to make an informed decision. Listening allows you to actually communicate and learn from the people you are conversing with. Take the time to listen and be an active member of the conversation.
5. Ask clarifying questions.
Another good tip for any communication encounter is to ask clarifying questions. Not only does this help you better understand what you have heard, but it assures the speaker that you were, in fact, listening. Clarifying questions ensures that the message that was sent was interpreted the same way and then verified. Restating or clarifying what was said assures both parties that the communication was effective.
The next time you are attempting to communicate with an elderly person, try some of these tips to help make the conversation more effective. Engaging in conversation with a senior is beneficial for many reasons and taking the steps to make it effective can make it a pleasant and productive encounter for both of you. For more information about how to interact with seniors or to enlist some help in communicating with the elderly, contact the staff of Angels on Call Homecare today.