All Posts tagged communicating with seniors

6 Ways to Celebrate Senior Citizens Day

6 Ways to Celebrate Senior Citizens Day

The elderly population of the world is huge and expected to just keep on growing. By 2025, experts estimate that there will be over one billion people over 65. Because of their experience, expertise, and dedication to life, these people deserve to be recognized for the achievements. Luckily, August 21 is Senior Citizens Day, a national holiday intended to honor and show appreciation for the older adults in our lives.

Founded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, this holiday celebrates the 40.3 million senior citizens that live in the United States. Many of these seniors are still active and independent, with 28 percent of people over 65 still living on their own and 16.2 percent still maintaining jobs. Older people carry with them the wisdom and knowledge that takes a lifetime to learn, so it is important not to simply push them to the side after they reach a certain age. There are many different ways to celebrate Senior Citizens Day; here are just a few ideas to get you started on planning your own unique observance.

1. Spend time with elderly loved ones

This is perhaps the most obvious yet most overlooked idea. Daily life is busy, meaning you might not always have time to spend with your family members. They might live out of the way or even in another state. However, visiting your elderly loved ones is essential to their mental health and well-being. Senior isolation increases the risk of poor health, cognitive decline, dementia, and early mortality. Therefore, make it a point to spend some time with your loved ones today. Plan a surprise visit, take them out for a day on the town, or even just stay in and reminisce over a cup of tea. It will make their day!

2. Visit local area nursing homes

Not all seniors are lucky enough to have caring family members. Many are shipped off to nursing and retirement homes without a second thought and never receive a visit or phone call from the people that put them there. Visiting a local nursing home can seriously brighten a senior’s day and positively impact their health. They may feel lost and forgotten, but having a stranger come by to talk and listen to them makes them feel valuable and cared about once more. To make the day even more special, pass out some homemade cookies or other gift.

3. Take advantage of discounts

There’s a lot of good things about being a senior, but one of the most important things are the discounts! Many businesses offer special savings just for older adults. A lot of these discounts are unadvertised, so seniors are encouraged to ask about them whenever they go to a store to buy something. Keep an eye out for “senior days” at local businesses, and remember to use your AARP card to qualify for special deals.

4. Start a family history project

Your elderly family members probably have a lot of knowledge about your family history, so why not use that knowledge to learn more about yourself? Start a family history project with them! Interview your senior loved one about their memories and experiences to gain a greater insight about their lives. It’s a great way to keep busy while spending time with them. Have them tell you stories you might not know about their parents and grandparents. Go through old photos and create a memory book that can be passed down through the generations.

5. Volunteer for projects that benefit elderly

There are many different things you can do in your community to help out seniors. Become a companion for seniors in your neighborhood and schedule weekly visits to check up on them. There are also programs that help seniors run errands they can no longer do themselves, such as picking up groceries or medication. Check with the local Meals on Wheels headquarters in your area, as they may need help delivering or preparing meals. Lastly, many libraries and community centers host events just for seniors – see if they need any help organizing their next outing!

6. Host a party or luncheon to celebrate

Show your elderly loved one you really care with a party that’s all about them! Having a party in their honor makes them feel special and valuable and can do wonders for their self-esteem. Invite all of their friends and family. You can even turn it into a festival of sorts if you have several people you wish to honor. Prepare their favorite foods, play their favorite music, bake them a cake, and make the entire day about them.

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How to Communicate With Older Adults

How to Communicate With Older Adults

When working with older adults, age-related health problems can present a barrier to effective communication. Chronic conditions, such as dementia and hearing loss, as well as the effects of medication can complicate conversations and understanding for the resident. During periods of diminished lucidity, interactions can create a frustrating and seemingly helpless experience. However, there are techniques you can use to communicate with older adults to help facilitate better interaction and create a communication-friendly environment.

  • 1. Know your patient.

    Always be patient and attentive with the patients for whom you are caring. It is your job to help them. That is why they are here and that is why you are here.

  • communicating with elderly people

    Photo by alumni anciens

    2. Be aware of the person’s health issues.

    Older adults may have health problems that add difficulty to speaking and understanding. Be sure you consider the person’s health before you engage in communication. For example, they may have hearing problems, speech problems, and memory loss. These factors complicate communication. And remember, chronological age is not always a true indicator of a person’s ability to communicate.

  • 3. Be aware of the environment in which you communicate with older adults.

    Be sure to evaluate the environment in which you are communicating, which might have an effect on hearing and speech problems. Is there any loud or disturbing background noise? Are too many people speaking in the same room? Is there any loud music? Are there any distractions that could affect your communication? Ask the older adult if the environment is comfortable for them. If you sense any disturbance, try to move to a more peaceful and quiet location.

  • 4. Speak slowly, clearly and articulately, and make good eye contact.

    It is important to articulate your words and speak clearly. Direct your speech at the individual’s face – not to their back or side. If the patient is sitting down or lying in a bed come down to their level. Move your mouth and pronounce each word carefully and precisely. When your tongue “moves” inside your mouth, you articulate more clearly. If your tongue does not move, you are most likely not articulating as well as you could.

  • how to communicate with older adults

    Photo by PANationalGuard

    5. Adjust the volume of your voice appropriately.

    Learn to adapt your voice to the needs of the individual. Evaluate the environment and how it relates to the person’s hearing abilities. Don’t shout simply because the listener is older. Treat the individual with respect by articulating and speaking at a comfortable volume that is suitable for both of you.

  • 6. Use clear and precise questions and sentences.

    Do not hesitate to repeat or rephrase your sentences and questions if you sense the patient is not understanding. Complicated/long questions and sentences may confuse older adults who have short-term memory or hearing loss. Be short, clear, and precise. It is easier to comprehend.

  • 7. Use direct questions.

    “Did you have soup for lunch?” or “Did you have salad for lunch?” Instead of: “What did you have for lunch?” The more precise you are in your language, the less difficulty the elderly have in understanding.

  • 8. Limit your sentences and questions to as little words as possible.

    Don’t use slang or filler words and phrases (“Like,” “well,” and “you know” are a few examples.) Keep your sentences brief and direct to the point.

  • communicating with old people

    Photo by wishymom

    9. Use visual aids, if possible.

    If an older adult has a hearing or memory problem, it is important to be creative. Visual aids help. Show the individual what or who you are talking about by pointing. For example, it may be better to say, “Is there any pain in your back (pointing to your back)? Is there any pain in your stomach (pointing to your stomach)?” instead of simply asking “Do you have any pain or discomfort?”

  • 10. Take it slow, be patient, and smile.

    A sincere smile shows that you are understanding. It also creates a friendly environment in which to communicate. Remember to pause between sentences and questions. Give the individual an opportunity to understand the information and questions. This is a particularly valuable technique if a person has memory loss. When you pause, you show respect and patience.

  • 11. Always be patient and attentive with the residents you are caring for.

    It is your job to help them. That is why they are here and that is why you are here.

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