Changing the Way We Talk with Elders: Promoting Health Using the Communication Enhancement Model
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Good communication is an essential component of optimal delivery of health care and health promotion efforts. In this article, we address the communication predicament faced by older adults when their opportunities for optimal care are limited by inappropriate communication with formal care providers. We then introduce the Communication Enhancement Model which promotes health in old age by stressing recognition of individualized cues, modification of communication to suit individual needs and situations, appropriate assessment of the health/social problems, and empowerment of both elders and providers. Applications of the Communication Enhancement Model are discussed for two high-risk groups (elders from ethnocultural communities and elders with dementia) to show how it can function as a guide for the development and evaluation of educational interventions with health and social professionals working with elders.
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