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Letís Talk Grandma
Topic Started: Mar 21 2006, 05:52 AM (217 Views)
ed-gracetoday
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Letís Talk Grandma
by John Boden
Making a few small changes in how we speak and listen when with an older person can have a big effect on improving communication. To accomplish this we often need to modify our normal speaking patterns. A few suggests are:

Speaking

Try to be at eye level and always avoid standing over someone when they are sitting or in bed.
Be in their line of vision, not to one side or the other.
Enunciate and speak at a reasonable rate.
Change the pitch, not just the volume, of your voice if they are having trouble understanding you.
Reduce background noise, shut off the TV, close the door, etc.
Ask if they can hear you okay, donít assume they do just because they are smiling and nodding.
Listening

Look at them when they are speaking.
Allow extra time for them to respond.
Be sure they are done speaking before you respond.
These suggestions are important as far as the mechanics of communication, but more is needed to make the conversation fruitful and pleasant. We are often rushed and in a hurry, but they arenít. Taking extra time and stretching out the visit may be their objective, while ours may be to get home or back to the office as soon as we know everything is okay. Try to tell them how long you will be staying, and then stay a little longer than you told them.

Most conversations start with the exchange of news, how are you, I am fine, what the kids did yesterday, what did the doctor tell you when you saw him on Tuesday, guess who I ran into yesterday, has the problem with Meals on Wheels gotten solved, etc. Now that the news is over, what do we talk about? Here are a few suggestions to make conversations fun and enjoyable for you both.

Read a news story about a subject of interest.
Show and discuss some of the grandchildrenís ďRefrigeratorĒ art or family photos.
Ask them about their first pet, grammar school, house they were raised in, how they met their spouse, their wedding, etc
Another great old standby is ďDo you remember when we ÖÖ?Ē
Taking a little time to plan what you are going to be doing and discussing before your visit, will go a long way to making your conversations pleasant fun and enjoyable, and remember laughter is the best medicine.


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