What Can Make The Most Positive Impact Toward More Effective Communication With The Cognitively Impaired Senior?

The title of this post triggered immediate requests for me to be more specific.  Most often I was asked if I was referring to caregivers at home or long term care facility professionals.  I was focused on neither.

Posing the question, “What can make the most positive impact toward more effective communication with the cognitively impaired senior?”, within the Twitter format was an excellent way to see what people think is most crucial.  It was my goal to induce a bit of “soul searching” as people tried to answer within 140 characters or less.

The following are the answers I received…

joemd1 @joemd Husband, Father, Physician, Educator, Writer, and Life Coach for Doctors, Guiding them to More Free Time, More Income, and More Fun.

“A smile, eye contact and a hand to hold.”

caregiving @caregiving – Certified ElderCare Coach, Author, Speaker. Founder, Caregiving.com. Interested in Social Media, Biking, Sports, Travel. Glad to connect!

“Helping family caregivers better understand the perspective and abilities of someone w/ a cognitive impairment.”

gerohelper1 @gerohelper – GeroHelper on LinkedIN, B.A. Gerontology, Geriatric Web 2.0 and Assisted Living Reform are my interests, enjoy geriatric freelance writing

“Finding out where they are in time, who they think they are, & connecting in their reality – b/c their reality is all that exists anymore.”

mreldercare @MrElderCare – Expert in elder care financia planning & bridging the communication gap between boomers and their parents.

“Begins w/ understanding that the cognitively impaired communicate differently and the caregiver must adapt to the care recipients ability to duplicate. Approach with patience, simplicity and tenderness.”

liononstage @Liononstage – Author, speaker, speech coach, trainer, and communication consultant, Dilip’s passion is to help you unleash your communication & performance potential.

“Cognitively impaired seniors are like children w/ life experiences.  To communicate with them – stimulate memories, be kind, patient.”

daccarte @daccarte – Interested in all things that enhance the quality of life in the elderly.  Creator of website assisting families with transition of aging parents.

“Keep noise level down, stay calm and respectful, offer simple choices.”

annesadler @AnneSadler – Owner of Smart Senior Services, a geriatric care management company. She has 23 years experience in nursing home administration.

“Listening with your heart.  They have so much to tell us if we would only listen.”

procarenurse @procarenurse – I am a Nurse Life Care Planner, Care Manager and Nurse Consultant.

“Find out what motivates them and take advantage of that and get help from people they trust.”

eldercarern @ElderCareRN – Registered Nurse,writer, caregiver 4 my father, offering Encouragement, Education, Empathy & Effective strategies to Enrich the lives of eldercare givers.

“Touch is the most effective communication;  gentle, non-threatening, loving, accepting touch does wonders.”

We all have different areas of expertise and experiences that lend toward our playing a part in caring for others.  Some of us do so in within our profession, and some through taking care of our families.  (and some do both!)  We need only pay attention to the many wonderful keywords used throughout these answers to reflect on what is truly important in continually making our best effort to communicate with the cognitively impaired, regardless of in what capacity.

Understanding, Connection, Adaptability, Patience, Simplicity, Tenderness, Experience, Kindness, Quiet, Calm, Respect, Listening, Motivation, Trust, Gentleness…

and Love.