Elderspeak Communication Essay examples

1980 Words Apr 20th, 2011 8 Pages
Elderspeak is a common communication method that is used in nursing homes, acute care hospitals, and other settings where elders reside. It is also frequently used when we speak to older adults, regardless of the particular setting. This style of speech is characterized as being much slower, having an exaggerated intonation, elevated pitch and volume, greater repetitions, and incorporates a simpler vocabulary and grammar than normal adult speech. Research has shown that the speech pattern used typically with the elderly is based on stereotyping and myth as opposed to the reality of the aging process. A number of researchers have conducted studies where a brief educational program was designed to increase the awareness of Certified Nursing …show more content…
Many RNs revert to a communication style similar to ‘baby talk’ when communicating with the elderly. Often times, nurses working with the older adults unknowingly use elderspeak, which can potentially contribute to the decline in health of those patients. Elderspeak, as described previously, is a form of communication that features a slower rate of speech and exaggerated intonation, elevated pitch and volume, greater repetitions, and a more simple vocabulary and grammar than normal adult speech. Elderspeak may be the result of a stereotype that older adults are somehow less competent in their ability to understand and to process information due to cognitive decline when, in fact, only 8% of the elderly are diagnosed with cognitive deficiencies (Berman, 2008). This myth may lend some justification to younger communication partners simplifying their communication, attempting to clarify communication, and altering the emotional tone of messages when communicating with older adults (Williams et al, 2004). Healthcare providers may assume that older adults prefer the nurturance that is often associated with elderspeak, however, in most cases this is not true. Most adults prefer an affirming emotional tone that appropriately balances care and control. This type of speech reflects a communication pattern that supports the notion of the listener being competent to understand the

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