Thursday, May 3, 2012

Modify Conversation with Older Adults As Needed

Photo by McBeth
How do you talk with older adults?

Communicating with older adults may not require any adjustments on the part of the speaker.

Often people 65 plus have no problems maintaining good communication.

Here is an overview of some communication challenges that might be at play.
  • Elderspeak on your part
  • Delirium from a treatable medical problem, such as an infection or dehydration
  • Dementia 
  • Hearing Problems
  • The Use of Touch to Communicate
  • Depression
  • Drug Interaction
  • Hospital-induced Delirium

See the list of links below for more detail about many of these challenges. 

Most older adults only have mild communication challenges if any, so don't let this list and the links let your imagination run wild.   But cautiously and calmly consider whether the communication problems you perceive need some kind of intervention, including changes in your own communication choices. 

If you interact regularly with the same person, you will soon see his or her typical needs for clear communication. If you work with the general population and only the occasional older adult, it make take you a while to hit the mark correctly. Again, you do not want to treat people as feeble minded or childlike, but you do want to accommodate their communication needs if possible.

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