Quality communication is the foundation to healthy interpersonal relationships.

Research clearly shows that body language and tone of voice are the most critical elements of a conversation. Words and actual language are often not as important in the process of understanding each other.

Think of a time when someone has said ‘Thank-You’. The unspoken meaning of these two words can either be warm and caring or cold and dismissive.

Or think of being at the supermarket when a checkout operator has mouthed a flowery farewell that left you cold and uncared for.

Always find and acknowledge the positive steps that the older adult has achieved. 

In all cases, good communication is not necessarily about the words spoken but how they are delivered. 

The communication process is especially important when working with a fragile older adult learner trying to master the operations of their new IT device. 

Self-esteem and belief in their ability to learn and achieve will always be an issue in the process. 

Just the barest hint of exasperation in the tone of your voice during a session can undermine a healthy relationship between coach and client. 

Remember to reflect on the different learning styles – are you using an appropriate learning style for this person? Are you working with their identified strengths?

Aim to find and acknowledge the positive steps that the older adult has achieved and use that as the jumping off point for further teaching and learning. Remember that repetition is normal and writing things down can be very helpful.

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