Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Be Cautious When Communicating With Seniors

       Communication with seniors can become great comedy. Slips can be made and the communication takes great leaps of logic to confusing ends.

      Things can easily get twisted in senior communication. Seniors don't hear well so they may hear things that are very different from what was spoken. Seniors can be thinking of something else and relate what was said to a completely different topic.

      Yesterday was my turn to provide some comedy in the communication field. I had advertised my canoe on Kijiji. Someone phoned and asked if she could see the canoe and wanted to know what time she could come. We agreed on 2 PM. I asked her what her name was. The first time she said her name , I didn't get it. The next time I got Maxine out of it. I repeated Maxine,' and said, "Okay, Maxine at 2 PM."

     I went outside in the afternoon. Shortly before 2 PM my wife answered the phone and someone was explaining they couldn't make the 2 PM appointment , but could she come at 3 PM. Again , my wife asked for a name and got Kathleen. And said, Okay Kathleen, we'll see you at 3 PM."

     After these two occurrences I'm not sure who the person was who actually phoned. They never showed up. Probably both of us were wrong. Why didn't "Maxine " or "Kathleen" correct us?

     I go with my wife to some of her medical appointments. Physicians will ask her a question and she goes on about something else. Finally, I say, "Answer the question". Doctors have good reasons for asking a question. Logic is going on in their heads as they want to relate the answer to the previous question and decide what to ask next. Some physicians will go on from a non answer. I wish they would rephrase the question and insist on an answer. "A final answer!"

      Now I admit that I provide my share of senior miscommunication. I admit that I don't hear well. I also admit that I don't listen very well. I can get into trouble in a hurry. Sometimes I come home and suddenly think, "Did I ever mess up that conversation." 

      However, life goes on. somehow we get through things and make sense and meaning of the conversation.

38 comments:

  1. Red don't be so hard on yourself. I mess up conversations all the time and I have the worst memory ever!

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    1. Believe me, I'm pretty low key and relaxed. I also have a healthy dose of self deprecating humor.

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  2. It's not just seniors who have trouble with communication, but I do think that as we get older and our hearing doesn't work as well as it used it, it gets more challenging. Maxine/Kathleen should have called and told you she wasn't coming, though. :-)

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    1. I find that when people answer Kijiji ads they tend to be unreliable.

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  3. Replies
    1. ...and there's nothing to be really upset about.

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  4. Wasn't that famous line from 'Cool Hand Luke?'
    "What we have here is a failure to communicate!"

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  5. This is a daily if not hourly occurrence for me. I talk, nobody listens and then they speak and I think we are still singing to the same hymn sheet. Folk think I am daft. I may be but they are dafter.

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    1. You're just much smarter and a way ahead of them.

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  6. I got a laugh out of this. .Hope you get it sold.

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    1. The canoe is gone. The person who bought it fits in the category of somebody you would be very happy to see buy your canoe.

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  7. Now you can right a post about communication between a teen and a parent or teacher. Or perhaps communication between a man and a woman of younger age...;-)

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    1. I'm interested in all these topics. One of my favorite books is "Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus " or It may be the other way around.

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  8. well, bummer on being stood up on the canoe! :)

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    1. Hey, a very nice person bought the canoe.

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  9. My Dad has trouble communicating. He's in a nursing home and is hard of hearing. I asked him if he was going down the hall to church, then he promptly dozed off. He suddenly woke up and said he didn't think he could go because he had to go working on the threshing machine.

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    1. Typical. My Dad wanted to quit for dinner but he couldn't find the barn to put his horses away. There were many more of these.

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  10. My hearing is just fine but my wife insists I have a listening disability.

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    1. The same broken record plays here.

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  11. I laughed about you telling your wife to "answer the question"! I say that to Gordon all the time. He just loves to dance around things with a million words... I think it's the lawyer in him.

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    1. Gordon just has so much info to pass on. I'll stick up for him!!!

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  12. Hahaha...this was a fun post! At least you find humour in all this.

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    1. I'm pretty laid back and don't get bent out of shape!

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  13. My hearing is going to the extent that I have trouble with conversation if their is background noise. I have to rely on lip reading for help. It bugs me that my hearing is fading, but it also bugs me when people talk too fast, mumble, or put their hand over their mouth. My poor hearing probably bugs other people.

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    1. Linda, you list all the typical things about hard of hearing. I found my last few years teaching difficult as the class room is noisy and I had a hard time the hear kids.

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  14. Did you sell the canoe? ha,ha Good Story - thanks for the giggle and I agree - there is humour in abundance.

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    1. A very nice New Brunswicker came by and bought the canoe. What a nice guy. It's nice to see a possession go to a very deserving person.

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  15. It is all in the age I suppose.I have miscommunications with my husband all the time. Someone is not listening or someone is not speaking clear enough...Well it is part of getting older.

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    1. I think I have the same situation here. At times it's not pleasant.

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  16. I am 47 and I don't understand people a lot! I am horrible at paying attention, reading things correctly and hearing. LOL

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    1. I think we have to concentrate more to pick things up. It's embarrassing to have to ask people to repeat things.

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  17. Oh Red, thank you for this post. Now I don't feel so bad. We have three seniors living in this house (one who isn't very adept at English). You can just imagine the (mostly) hilarious conversations and miscommunications we have! I hope Maxine or Kathleen or was it Myrtle (?) shows up some day.

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    1. I can well imagine your situation. None of these babes will show up or phone again. They probably think the people they phoned have totally lost it.

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  18. My Mom is getting very hard of hearing so I understand completely. It is very curious why the person didn't correct you. Perhaps they don't hear well either. :)

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  19. This is why I tell my clients to take someone with them to an appointment. My hubby has a 30% hearing loss. It is important, too, that doctors figure out what patients can hear!

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