Communicating with seniors can be frustrating
Caring for an older adult is all about communication. You need to talk with them about the changes in their life – health, finances, living situation, legal documents, etc. But seniors can be sensitive or defensive about these topics.
To reduce arguments and have more productive conversations, it’s necessary to communicate in the way they’ll respond to best.
We found a useful quiz that helps you identify communication styles and gives tips on adjusting your style to work better with theirs.
Why understanding communication styles is important
The free online quiz from Institute on Aging covers 4 primary communication styles: Assertor, Contemplator, Demonstrator, and Narrator. These styles describe how people talk with others, solve problems, and deal with stress.
Understanding your older adult’s style helps you adapt so they’ll be more likely to listen to what you’re saying. Plus, you’ll find out how to avoid communicating in ways that might rub your older adult the wrong way, regardless of the subject.
For example, will they respond better if you talk more generally or would they prefer to hear specifics? Do you need to get to the point quickly or is it better to go slowly and and share feelings first?
If your older adult is open to it, you could even ask them to take the quiz with you so you can discuss the results and improve how you communicate with each other.
How to take the communication style quiz
This quick quiz has two columns of the same 12 brief questions. One column is for you to answer. In the second column, choose the answers that best represent your older adult.
When you finish answering the questions, click the “Click Here for Results” button at the bottom. (You won’t see that button until you fill in all the answers.)
Use your results for communicating effectively with seniors
Your and your older adult’s communication styles will be shown at the bottom of each column of questions. Click on each of them to learn how that style works and get helpful advice.
For your older adult’s style, you’ll find out what might make communicating more difficult for them. You’ll also get tips on how to encourage them to talk about tough subjects and more specific advice to guide you when talking about health issues, personal needs, and financial matters. These pointers help you understand why seniors can get touchy about certain things and how to avoid triggering a negative reaction.
For your own style, you’ll get a description of your communication traits and preferences as well as how those tendencies might affect others. You’ll also get tips on how to make your style work better with each of the 4 communication styles.
This quiz helps with communicating effectively with seniors by identifying both of your main communication styles.
When working with siblings or other family members to care for a parent or spouse, understanding their communication styles can also help reduce conflicts and make decision-making easier.
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Families for Life
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