Communicating with seniors is essential, but can be frustrating
Caring for an older adult is all about communication.
It’s essential to talk with them about major changes in their life – health, finances, living situation, legal documents, and more. It’s also important to involve other family members in these discussions.
But these sensitive topics can easily cause disagreements or put someone on the defensive. That makes it tough to have productive conversations.
To reduce arguments and improve discussions, it’s necessary to communicate in a way that someone will respond to best.
We found a helpful free quiz from Institute on Aging that helps you identify communication styles and gives tips on adjusting your style to work better with the other person.
We explain why understanding communication styles helps in communicating effectively with seniors, how the quiz works, and how to use the quiz results.
Understanding communication styles makes conversations easier
The free online quiz 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 how you say something 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 speak 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 quiz 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 to 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.
Recommended for you:
- How to Talk with Parents About Aging: 5 Tips and Conversation Starters
- 5 Essential Parts of Successful Caregiver Family Meetings
- 7 Steps to Take When Aging Parents Need Help
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Families for Life
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