A Guide on Communicating with seniors that can No Longer Speak

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), around 7.5 million Americans have trouble using their voices.

Communication with seniors who can no longer speak can be an uncomfortable experience. There’s always the fear of saying something hurtful or negative to individuals who may not be able to express their feelings. In this blog, we’ll present a short guide on how to effectively communicate with seniors that can no longer speak.

Rely on Touch

For those relying on touch to communicate with seniors, keeping an eye out for nonverbal cues such as body language is very important. Remain attentive and try to identify subtle changes in expression, posture, breathing, and behavior to determine what they wish to communicate. Before you attempt to express physical affection or provide hands-on care, inform them of what you’re going to do before you actually do it.

For example, saying things such as “I really feel like giving you a hug” or “I’m going to apply some lotion onto your arms”. There may be days when they don’t feel like being touched so be careful and respect their space. Simple gestures such as holding hands can go a long way in showing elders that they’re loved and cared for.

Rely on Hearing

The conversation can seem a bit awkward if your loved one is unable to respond. But even when it feels like a one-sided affair, know that such connections are still beneficial. With a little bit of practice, you’ll get over the discomfort.

You don’t really need to have an entire talk planned out. Just speak about events happening in your day-to-day life, what’s new with family members and friends. Elderly people also love to reminisce about past events. What’s important is to keep the conversation light and uplifting. It may not seem like it, but having a prolonged conversation can return a sense of normalcy into an old, loved one’s life.

Rely on Books

A lesser known fact is that seniors enjoy being read to. Do a bit of research to see which books or topics they enjoy. With each visit, you can read to them a chapter or two. Sometimes, they might not be able to comprehend what you’re saying but your voice may have a soothing effect anyway.

Being unable to speak can place a person in a position of vulnerability. AvantGarde Senior Living is a senior care community in Van Nuys, California that’s home to a team of qualified and compassionate caregivers. They ensure each member of the community is given the right amount of love, care, and attention. Contact us today for more information.