Are you having trouble communicating with an older family member? The problem might not be with them, but with your communication skills. There are a few things you should keep in mind when speaking with your elders.
Without realizing it, many people are guilty of speaking to seniors differently than how they would speak to any other adult. This style of speech is called “elderspeak” and many seniors take offense to it. Here are some examples of “elderspeak” to stay away from:
- Using simplified words even though vocabulary doesn’t depreciate with age.
- Changing the manner in which you speak to a higher-pitched voice.
- Speaking louder than normal, unless that person does have a hearing problem.
- Talking to a family member about the person while they’re in the room.
Lack of Adaption
With age, certain changes can take place and people who communicate with seniors should learn to adapt to these changes. If a person’s memory isn’t what it used to be, adjust how you speak to them by breaking down sentences. Speak one thought at a time so they can digest all of the information that you’re conveying to them. Simplifying the structure of sentences is perfectly okay if the person you are speaking to does have a memory condition.
People Are People
Younger people forget that no matter how old you grow to be, you are still the same person on the inside. An 80-year-old is the same person they were at the age of 40 and this should not be forgotten. Seniors have experienced a lifetime of events and can be wiser than everyone else in the room. By realizing this you can begin to learn from them and all of the wisdom, advice, and stories that they have to offer.
Knowing the proper way to speak can help you bridge the gap between you and an older loved one. This is especially important when speaking to someone about assisted living. If you’re interested in learning more or visiting The Arbors Assisted Living community, schedule a tour by contacting one of our five convenient locations: