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Communicating with Older Adults

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Angelo Consligio, MD, has served as an ear, nose, and throat physician for more than 30 years. Dr. Angelo Consiglio also leads as area representative of SouthWest Florida for Golden Heart Senior Care, which provides daily services for older individuals.

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Communicating with Older Adults

  1. 1. Communicating with Older Adults Angelo Consiglio
  2. 2. Introduction • Angelo Consligio, MD, has served as an ear, nose, and throat physician for more than 30 years. Dr. Angelo Consiglio also leads as area representative of SouthWest Florida for Golden Heart Senior Care, which provides daily services for older individuals. In many ways, communicating with aging adults is the same as conversing with any other person. They appreciate a genuine connection that acknowledges who they are as human beings, rather than simply as elders. This type of connection requires that the non-elder listen without interrupting, judging, or offering to help. Patient listening helps to make an elderly person feel respected, as does some agency over his or her own life.
  3. 3. Communicating with Older Adults • Family, friends, and caregivers must be careful not to associate a loss of capability with a loss of adulthood. Instead of telling the elderly person what to do or talking about her as though she was not in the room, as one might do in the presence of a child, a caregiver or friend can instead invite input and solicit the elder's opinion. A times, elderly individuals do feel overcome by such challenges as physical and mental decline, forgetfulness, and an increased dependence on others. This can make the individual act out or speak harshly, and it can be helpful for a conversation partner to remember that the person is dealing with major challenges. A bit of empathy can go a long way in telling the senior, “I understand.”

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