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Tips for Communicating with Older People
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 05:30

Communicating with older people

Courtesy of The Guardian

Communicating with an aging loved one can be difficult at times. Of course, as people get older their hearing disintegrates and so it can be harder to communicate as efficiently as they once did.  As a result, you may have to put in a greater effort if you wish to communicate effectively with an elderly loved one.

Here are some valuable tips and suggestions on how to communicate better with an elderly person.

Communicate Face-to-Face
Perhaps it’s an obvious one but communicating face-to-face is something which is becoming rare and rarer with advancements in technology and our dependence on all things digital. It is important to remember that we all rely on lip-reading skills to help us understand what we are hearing.    

Try Not to Shout
Shouting actually makes it more difficult for you to enunciate, thus making it harder for your loved one to understand you.

Maintain Eye Contact
Eye contact is one of the most direct and powerful forms of non-verbal communication. It shows people that you are interested in them and they can trust you. Maintaining eye contact creates a more positive, comfortable atmosphere that may result in aging loved ones opening up and providing additional information.

Try to Eliminate Background Noises
Be aware that even small noises like T.V.’s, radios and lawnmowers can muffle the sound of your voice. It is advisable to communicate with an elderly person in a quiet room that is away from distraction.

Check if their Hearing aid is working
Remember that hearing aids don’t always work perfectly. If you find your loved one is having trouble hearing well with their hearing aid or if they have stopped using it entirely, it is important to ask questions to find out more.  

Slow Down and Enunciate
Try not to rush through your sentences. This will enable you to be more easily heard by any age.

Use Visual Aids
Don’t be afraid to use your hands or point to objects you are referring to as ways of illustrating what you are saying when talking to an elderly loved one.

Finally, remember that hearing aids are a great way to improve communication for an aging loved one. They will help them to understand the noises around them as well as make it much easier for them to engage in conversation.  


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