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40-70 Rule: Communication Assessment Results

Let's Talk…

As a result of your answers to the communication assessment tool questions, it appears that you are having a difficult time talking with your loved one. Have you thought about when and where you are trying to communicate with your senior? Physical space and place are important. A family reunion or a major holiday may well trigger a lot of memories and associations of childhood for all involved, not just your parents, according to Communication Expert Jake Harwood of the University of Arizona. If your parent is still treating you like a child, it may be helpful to mix things up a little. This might be achieved by taking a more active role in cooking the dinner or taking your mom to the mall to buy a gift just to change the dynamic and the setting in a positive way.

Also consider how you are addressing your senior. Remember that you are talking to an adult, not a child. Don't use patronizing speech or baby talk. Put yourself in your parent's shoes and think of how you would want to be addressed in the situation, Harwood advises.

Finally, approach your parent with a conversation, Harwood suggests. Discuss what you've observed and ask your parent what he or she thinks is going on. If your parent acknowledges the situation, ask what would be good solutions. If your parent doesn't recognize a problem, use concrete examples to support your case.

University of Arizona Communication Expert Jake Harwood advises that talking about important issues sooner rather than later is important. But it’s only the first step. Making decisions, identifying choices and conveying wishes are an essential part of the road ahead. The 40-70 Rule®: An Action Plan for Successful AgingSM (US or Canada) provides expert advice to help start the necessary conversations about aging and put a plan into action.

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