Aging in Balance: Communication that Works for You
Our AgeAssured Allies, professional aging experts who work with our members to help them age successfully in place, know how small adjustments can make a big difference in an older person’s life. This article exemplifies the “Aha!” moments and thoughtful solutions that arise when Allies collaborate with members to make their lives easier.
‘Mom, I told you that already!’
“No you didn’t! When? I don’t see a text. Was it an email?”
“It was on the phone. Yesterday!”
“Yesterday? You mean when you were driving on the highway and your voice kept cutting in and out?”
We are living in an era like none before. We are bombarded with information that arrives in a multitude of communication channels, in an unplanned and unmeasured way.
Each one of us encounters information from a multitude of sources at different times. Between mail, email, text, TV, radio, newspapers, websites, social media, apps, calls to the mobile, calls to a landline: we are all overwhelmed.
The quality of the message is often poor. We talk (and listen) while doing something else. One person on the call is driving; the second is washing dishes.
Do you remember when a telephone had a cord? And a chair next to it? And a paper and pen? If you do, you probably remember that making a call wasn’t cheap. So if you made the call, it was for a reason. Both people on the line would stop their activity, sit down, and focus. They would give each other 100% of their attention, and convey their point. If it was really important, well, that’s what the paper and pen were for.
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), healthy aging is not just about your “intrinsic capacity,” i.e. what functional abilities you have as an individual. It’s also about your environment. And on that note, I’d like to empower you to make the world more supportive of your needs.
How does this apply to modern-day communication? Many adults have a harder time hearing, especially with background noise, and multitasking or switching between tasks. We all have the right to a supportive environment. There is nothing wrong in saying, “The line is noisy, happy to chat, but if there is something important you want to say, I might not get it all, can you email or call later?”
Three easy tips:
- Find a place that is comfortable and not distracting for important calls.
- Keep a pen and paper at hand.
- Make it known to your family and friends what your preferred communication modes are. Some like texts, others prefer phone calls or email.
As part of our AgeAssured program, we want to help you find your balance in a world of information overload and fast-changing communication trends. Your environment can enhance your strengths and abilities, rather than frustrate and detract from them.