Communicating with older adults can often be difficult due to the physical, psychological, and social changes associated with aging; however, this difficulty also occurs when communicating with an adult with a speech or language disorder.

Some great rules of thumb when communicating include:

  • reducing background noises and distractions such as the radio, the television, or closing a door to a loud hallway
  • stick to familiar topics and avoid switching topics quickly and frequently
  • practice active listening (this involves taking hints from body language, gestures, eye gaze, and paraphrasing)

When interacting with someone with a speech and language disorder or an older adult, be sure to speak slowly and clearly, to allow more processing time and to ensure they are understanding your message. In order to ensure successful communication, be sure to use short and concise sentences or questions, frequently check the person’s understanding, and provide them with time to speak while resisting the urge to finish their sentences/words.