Communication can be become harder as we age. This can present problems with caregivers, family and friends. It can lead to isolation of the elder person. Communication is dependent on both persons who are involved and each is equally responsible to try and accurately access what is being communicated.
Here are some basic rules to enhance your communication skills
- Speak slowly and avoid rushing the conversation
- Don’t interrupt
- Give eye contact and use body language that states you are listening and understand
When communicating with the hearing impaired
- Ask if the person can hear you
- Avoid shouting or using high pitched voice
- Decrease the background noise such as radio or TV
- Use a writing as a back up method of communication
When communicating with the visually impaired
- Make sure person has their eyeglasses
- Make sure that the lighting is adequate
- Make the instructions clear and concise
- Use a font that is large enough for the person to read
If communication is still difficult
- Be positive
- Ask closed ended questions that require only a yes or no answer
- Decrease the options, for example, instead of asking what restaurant one might want to go to, suggest the restaurant and ask if the person is interested in eating out.
Communication is important in all of life’s stages. With some basic tools, it can be easier in the elderly, making life more enjoyable and meaningful for all.