How to communicate (in-person) to an aging audience

Recently my client wrote this article on how she interviews the silver generation. In any assessment with a client or potential patient, you often end up listening more than you do speaking to get the information you need from an individual possibly near dementia or consistent confusion. Read consumer-focused article on: How to interview…on Pages to the Past.

Consider your subject is placed in a setting, whether it be a home or office. Are they comfortable, and receptive for the duration of your discussion? Is their condition, ailment, or disease a potential barrier to your interview? Here are some considerations first to account for his or her medical or health needs:

  • vision and focus, to look at you when speaking
  • ambulatory status, sitting up and down in a chair
  • weight-bearing, can the person stand-sit-lay if a presentation is required
  • dexterity, if required to write
  • attention-span, if the elder can maintain conversation for more than several minuts at a time, or 20.

What other considerations would you add? We’d love to hear what people in the industry are doing to successfully communicate with those receiving treatment. If you check-in clients, conduct assessments, patient interviews, conduct medical research studies, share your expertise below in the comments.


Dealing with a loss is more often than not an unwelcome surprise in the middle of a work day. Whether it’s a friend, uncle, or grandma, it’s inevitable that one faces the harsh news of a life’s passing during a busy task-filled day at work. HR Professionals are trained to help refer and support employees in grief, financial burden of a burial or even assuming the role of power of attorney for the deceased. From the time of the news to the weeks or months after the burial, seek out your Human Resource department to help you manage life while you endure extremely difficult emotions.

There are a multitude of resources provided by insurance companies following the loss of a loved one. Below are some public avenues to find relief and comfort throughout the complex process of healing.

  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) – if your company has an EAP benefit, this referral service can locate a therapist or grief counselor in your area at no cost.
  • Online obituaries –,, are excellent online services to share your best memories with others online. Sharing positive memories and stories with others online who are remote or located at various ends of the country can help.
  • 1-800-SUICIDE – This toll-free hotline exists not only for those at-risk or with potential of suicidal actions but also for those relatives and friends. The hotline is a referral source for local support groups who meet to talk about suicide either in groups or a private setting.
  • Releasing private medical information – Under the laws of HIPAA, a personal representative must be within proxy of the deceased in order to be legally allowed to access protected health information for up to 50 years after the death. Each state varies with the strictness of the documentation needed to release information, ranging from Power of Attorney to Probate Court documents. Read more about this complex process here.

What are other helpful resources you have used during the process of managing a death?