In the past 20 years or so, the eldest of our population, the over 85s, has more than doubled to over 1.3m. An age group growing in importance, and yet it would seem not in stature. Ever caught yourself talking really slowly to your elderly neighbour?
Research from Kansas University found that belittling language is harmful to the mental and physical health of older people. But, we’re just trying to be nice right? Truth is we often resort to parental language as if talking to a child; ‘aren’t you a good girl?’ and ‘did you eat all your dinner dear?’
It may be tempting to over-simplify what you want to say, but remember just like you and me, most elderly people feel much younger on the inside. Major life changes like moving into care can often affect self-perception. As communicators we need to remember to show respect where it’s due…ok dear?