submitted by Beth Herman, Amada Senior Care blog contributor
Health Literacy can be defined as the degree to which individuals have the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others. Because there is so much information out there, whether obtained from healthcare providers, the internet, media, etc., how do seniors know what to believe, and what to do?
While distilling complicated healthcare information is challenging, there steps family members and caregivers can take to make the process easier for seniors.
Ways to support a senior’s understanding of Health Literacy
- Experts suggest when presenting health-related information, communicating with respect, acceptance, and support should be paramount. Creating a safe learning environment is the key to keeping the door to communication open.
- Be patient. Provide enough time for the senior to process new information and encourage questions.
- Link new knowledge to past experiences. Reminiscing helps the older adult reconnect with lived experiences.
- Keep the content practical and relevant to the senior’s daily activities, social structure, and physical function.
- Speak slowly, but not so slowly that the senior becomes bored or distracted.
- Use terminology that is familiar, but do not patronize or underestimate. Age and waning comprehension don’t imply ignorance.
- Give older adults written material that reinforces the major points of the conversation. Use a larger font if possible.
- Encourage seniors, who may be grieving the loss of independence and control, to be proactive in their questions and in choosing their options, if possible.
An Amada Senior Care advisor can serve as a Health Literacy resource and assist seniors and families in creating an in-home care plan. Call us today at 215-422-3095. AmadaBucksMontgomery.com for more information.
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