Group Leadership Skills

By Carolyn Chambers Clark | Go to book overview

9
Groups for the Older Adult

THE OLDER ADULT POPULATION GROWS
As the American population ages, the importance of group work grows. Almost 13% of the population in the United States is 65 or older and the 85-and-older group is growing exponentially. With the baby boomers turning senior citizens, the need for gerontological services will be even greater.A nursing-home resident is an atypical older adult today. Older people are highly diverse in their behavior and interests. Far more typical than ill, nursing-home residents requiring physical care are senior citizens involved in group activities through hospital- or community-sponsored social clubs that combine fitness and recreational activities. Many older adults live at home, and even those who need additional care can choose from a variety of living situations—from sheltered care and assisted living to retirement homes.Special considerations of communication with groups of older adults who may have cognitive or memory impairment are:
1. Use facial and eye contact to communicate.
2. Directly face the other person and speak slowly, enunciating words so lips can be read.
3. Stay in close proximity or move closer to a hearingimpaired person before speaking. Avoid resorting to shouting or yelling.
4. Experiment with the use of signs, written words, pictures, films, music, or taped recordings as group communication vehicles.
5. Expand the use of gestures, body language, and role playing to enhance the message being communicated.
6. Reinforce a verbal message with a written, auditory or kinesthetic cue.

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