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Communicating Effectively with Seniors

February 27th, 2017

As we age, everything starts to slow down. New research suggests that the part of the brain responsible for motion may begin to slow down as early as age 40. The myelin, which is a special fat that coats the nerves, also starts to break down. This means that the brain’s electrical conduction signals used to send commands are no longer as fast as they used to be.
As another decade of aging passes, the myelin starts to break down in the areas of the brain responsible for cognitive functions. While staying active in all regards is helpful, there is still age-related slowness to combat. This is extremely frustrating to younger friends and family of aging loved ones with Orlando in-home care, but there are three ways to improve the relationship by learning how to communicate effectively with seniors.

  • Be patient when communicating.

The brain isn’t processing like it used to. Speak clearly and directly, and allow ample time for a response or request to be formed. Seniors can struggle while conveying thoughts and feelings, and there is frequently a time lapse longer than in younger adults.

  • Focus on listening and interpreting verbal and non-verbal communication.

Too frequently there are distractions and the whole focus is not on the conversation. This is often considered rude and an additional distraction to the person with whom communication is happening. Maintain eye contact and watch for non-verbal cues to accent different points being made throughout the conversation.

  • Summarize and repeat key points if necessary.

Many loved ones experience short-term memory loss and may struggle to remember recent events or conversations. Gentle reminders stated in short sentences with small words can help, as well as visual aids such as pictures. For best retention, restate key points or information three times.

Aging means loved ones can find themselves struggling with hearing, reading, writing, and general communication skills. They desperately want to keep in touch with loved ones and the rest of the world, but sometimes their brain just can’t handle certain types of communication. Being patient, truly listening, and repeating important information can create effective communication. When they struggle, BrightStar Care in-home care Orlando is prepared to help. If you or a loved one needs additional help at home, please call BrightStar Care at 1-866-618-7827 for a complimentary in-home assessment.


Topics: Lifestyle