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How To Speak To Assisted Living Residents

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Home » How To Speak To Assisted Living Residents
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Speaking to Assisted Living Residents

Harriet HodgsonSummary: Written from experience, Harriet offers her advice on how to speak to assisted living residents, which requires different and extra preparation
Author: Harriet Hodgson exclusively for Assisted Living Directory

Harriet is a contributor for Assisted Living Directory

Speaking to Assisted Living Residents

In the past few weeks I’ve given several presentations to Assisted Living folks. These presentations required extra preparation. Though my main goal was to share information, entertaining was also goal, and it’s an important one. As I’ve discovered, these days you have to entertain in order to educate.

Are you a speaker? Do you speak to retirement community folks and Assisted Living folks? These tips will help audience members “get” your message and remember it.Speaking To Assisted Living Residents

Consider hearing loss. I’ve learned how to project my voice and was just about to start my talk when a staff person entered the room. “They will never hear you. Use the microphone,” she said firmly. Since I wear two hearing aids myself, I took her advice.

Ask people to move closer. One presentation was scheduled in a large hall that could hold 100 people or so. To my dismay, some attendees sat at the back and several sat on the sides. To foster a group feeling, I asked these people to move closer. “This isn’t church,” I joked, “and I’m not going to take a collection.”

Ignore the podium. I gave one presentation in a chapel. Unfortunately, the podium was far away from the audience, too far, in my opinion. Instead of using the podium, I put a piano bench close to the audience members to get their attention and make eye contact.

Provide written handouts. After attending a talk or demonstration, Assisted Living folks like to discuss the experience. Giving them handouts fosters discussion and helps them recall the key points of my presentation. If I have several handouts, I color code them. I put my website address on every handout.

Tell stories people remember. Statistics can be meaningful, but they can also be boring. When I tell personal stories, however, stories that make people laugh, they are more apt to remember the point the story illustrates. Personal stores also show I know what I’m talking about and am someone who has “walked the walk.”

Switch gears. One talk was scheduled for 3:30 p.m. in the afternoon, a time when Assisted Living residents may be sleepy or thinking about dinner. A woman in front of me kept nodding off. To wake her up, I switched the order of my presentation, and passed around books I had written. Switching gears seemed to awaken everyone in the group.

Ask for comments. Instead of asking for questions, I ask for comments. The question, “Have you had a similar experience?” may spark audience participation. Sometimes I get comments and other times I don’t. If I don’t get any comments, I thank people for coming to the talk and say something like, “I’ve enjoyed my time with you today.”

While speaking to Assisted Living residents can be challenging, it is also rewarding, and I always learn something. “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” a woman said. Her gratefulness touched my heart and I was glad I had spoken to the group.

Copyright © 2012 by Harriet Hodgson

- Article by Harriet Hodgson exclusively for Assisted Living Directory

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Responses to this article:

David Wrote:
Great tips Harriet. Thanks for sharing your great insights!
26 November 2012 at 11:25 am

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