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Tips for Communicating with Seniors in Jacksonville

Crossing age barriers and communicating successfully with seniors can sometimes be a challenge. Older adults may be hard of hearing, easily disinterested, or suffering from memory loss issues that can make it difficult to process and remember information.  It’s critical to your loved ones overall health and lifestyle that they not only communicate effectively, but stay informed about medical issues, prescribed medications, current events and family activities.

 

Family members and caregivers who spend a lot of time talking with seniors should keep a few tips in mind to encourage improved communication. These simple tips can make communicating easier for all involved and can lead to stronger personal bonds and a higher quality of life for seniors. 

 

Stay in view: 
One of the easiest ways to help get a message across is to sit or stand directly in front of your loved one. This allows your loved one to focus solely on what you are saying, blocking out other distractions, while also using gestures and facial expressions as context clues to what is being said. 

 

Use yes/no questions: 
If you are trying to get information or opinions out of seniors, start by asking yes or no questions. Yes/no questions allow your loved one to stay focused, are usually easier to understand and inspire simple answers to important questions.

 

Don’t play 20 question:
After receiving answers to any pressing questions, switch to more casual conversation, but keep it light.  Whether your loved one is living independently or in an assisted living, nursing home and senior care environment, you can encourage additional conversation by talking about their feelings and needs, past experiences, family, friends and current events.

 

Eliminate distractions: 
Turn off the television, radio, cell phones and other electronics. By doing so, all parties will be able to maintain eye contact and really listen to what the other person is saying. It will also decrease the number of times people have to repeat themselves, which can easily lead to irritability and frustration in seniors.

 

Slow down and communicate:
Talking fast and using too much modern jargon is a surefire way to confuse seniors. Many seniors tend to need more time to learn and store information to memory, so speak slowly, use everyday words and enunciate clearly.

 

Summarize the important things as needed:
When talking about a confusing subject or reviewing medical instructions, it may be best to wrap up the conversation with a summary of what was said. Condense important conversations into a few key points and make sure these are getting through to your loved one.

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