As communication is how we tell someone about how things are going for us, it forms an essential part of life. Communication with the elderly has been a challenge, as we live in an era of technology and change that has evolved faster than most could keep up with.
This can lead to agitation and confusion about topics that may seem sensitive.
Fret not, as with this guide, you’ll be on your way to overcoming the barriers to communication with elderly individuals.
Patience Is Key
Often when people are speaking to the elderly population, they tend to lose their patience more. This is one of the biggest barriers to communication, as it is not them who is letting the communication break down, but you.
Losing your cool and patience is a sure-fire way to know that there will be nothing accomplished between you and the person you are communicating with. We expect instant feedback when we talk to someone, but don’t realize that this isn’t always possible.
Stay patient, and if you need to repeat yourself, be sure to do so. Elderly-friendly communication is about ensuring that you give the same tone over and over, in a friendly manner, so that they can get the gist of what you’re talking about.
Elder abuse runs rampant, unfortunately. Emotional abuse affects elders the same way as it would anyone else. People just tend to think that these laws don’t apply because an elder is of older age.
For more information on elder law, be sure to check out the link.
Don’t Be Condescending
Another barrier to effective communication is the act of being condescending. This means you start to think that you are better than the person you are speaking to. You feel superior to an older adult, just because you are either speaking faster or more comprehensively.
Understand that this can be insulting to anyone, not just someone of age.
Never think you are the smartest or best person in the room, regardless of who you are around. You should remember that these individuals have wisdom behind their years. Listening to them tell a story, even if it’s one you’ve heard, is a great way to create a path to communication.
Simple Language Is the Best Language
Over explaining or using language that is too specific can lead to a breakdown in communication as well. Just as someone wouldn’t expect you to understand the in-depth workings of a rocket if you’re a communications major, you can’t expect someone to understand an illness or issue right away in medical terms.
Use simple and easy to understand language when communicating with the elderly, as it gets the point across easier. It avoids any vague misunderstandings, and if need be, you can get into more detail if they need it.
Communication With Elderly Individuals Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
When tackling communication with elderly people, the key is to be nice and understanding. Everyone comes from a different situation, and jumping to conclusions is a guaranteed way to see communications break down.
If you want to learn more about honing your communication skills, be sure to check out the rest of the blog. If you know someone that could use some help working on their communication skills, be sure to share this article with them.