How to Properly Communicate with Older People

Communicating properly is one primary way to build relationships. We may find it difficult to talk to our elderly parents or grandparents since they have a totally different way of thinking, but still communicating with them is necessary. We may end up treating them like a child or worst, a burden.

Here are some ways to properly communicate with the older people in our lives.

Do not treat them differently

We often stereotype with age, so some of us, if not most of us, tend to address older people with patronizing language. We often speak too loudly when talking to them which is often perceived as an insult.

Unless they have dementia, seniors are still capable of improving their vocabulary or at least maintaining it. They can still understand even the most complicated words, so it is not necessary to simplify words for them.

If you are visiting them in an elderly home care facility, don’t ask their caregiver how they are when you can just ask them yourself. Seniors often consider that as a form of offense. 

Adapt to their issues

We all know that complications are common for people with age, so it is important that we understand which of these complications affect them the most. Do not patronize them but instead accommodate their issues with utmost respect.

If the person is suffering from poor memory, learn to expand your sentences. Explain things to them in more detail since this will make them understand your message easily.

If you are dealing with a person with dementia, ask questions that are answerable by yes or no instead of asking them open-ended questions.

Also, it is advisable that you talk to them face-to-face. If your grandparent is suffering from hearing loss, they will appreciate seeing your lips while talking. Lip-reading is one of the few tricks they have learned to adopt with being a senior.

Remember that you can still learn from them

Truth be told, we often treat old people as a burden and not as people. Keep in mind that no matter how old they are, they still have feelings, emotions, and thoughts. Treat them the way that you want to be treated when you’re old!

Also, don’t forget that these people have gone through life and you can certainly learn a lot from them. If you are heartbroken, talk them and they will surely share with you how they recovered from their worst heartbreak. If you are struggling with your finances, they might be able to give you tips on how to efficiently spend and save.

They have years and years of experience and for sure, you will enjoy listening to their stories. So, find time to talk to them and pay attention to what they say. You might be surprised how similar you two are. Also, share with them your own stories and they might learn a thing or two from you too.

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