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.