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How to Communicate Effectively with the Elderly through Simple

Activities


Content 1. Purpose of the guide

p.1

2. Definition of elderly

p.2

3. Possible changes faced by the elderly

p.3

4. Games & Activities 4.1 Story Train

p.4-5

4.2 King Of Guesses

p.6-7

4.3 Drawing In Your Mind

p.8-9

4.4 Step Into The Past

p.10-11

5. Useful Tips

p.12

6. Appendix

p.13-17


Purpose How much do you know about the elderly around you? What is his or her favorite food? In return, how much do they understand you? Nowadays, the great difference in beliefs between the elderly and the youngsters causes a communication breakdown.

We hope this user guide can serve as a practical workbook to teach the youngsters how to communicate with the elderly effectively through simple games and activities.

It can also provide them with some useful tips on building a better relationship with the elderly, making our society more harmonious.

1


Definition

A famous psychologist Eric Erikson suggests that there are 8 life stages. Those in the last stage of life, late adulthood, is known to be elderly.

Different people may define “elderly” in different ways. According to the definition of the United Nations, “elderly” refers to people whose ages are above 65. This standard is widely accepted by different places, including Hong Kong.

2


Changes faced by the elderly When people are getting older, they face changes in different aspects. 

Physical Changes E.g. appearance and body function



Psychological Changes E.g. feel depressed due to a loss of control over their lives



Life Role Changes E.g. loss of the role as a worker

As the elderly may think that they may no longer be able to do the things that they used to do, ranging from basic self care and leisure activities, they will be less active in their daily life and they may not want to communicate with others.

3


Game 1

Story Train Purpose: - An ice breaking activity to build up relationship between you and the elderly

Material:  Several pieces of A4 paper

 A pen

 A pair of scissors

 A paper or plastic box

Minimum Number of Participants:

2

Steps: 1. Cut a piece of A4 paper into 6 rectangular pieces. 2. Write down a particular word on each small paper. Points to note:  The words can be a place like the park, the bus stop or a

feeling word like sweet, happy or sad etc. (Examples can be found in Appendix 1)

4 To be Continued…


Game 1

Story Train Steps: 3. Put all the small paper into box. 4. Invite the elderly person to draw lot in the box. 5. Invite the elderly person to share a story related to the word on the paper. 6. Draw another lot to select another paper. 7. Tell your own story related to the word to the elderly person. 8. Invite the elderly person to guess the story ending. Points to note: 1. Update your words on the paper every time after the game finished. 2. Use simple words only (examples can be found in the appendix). 3. For the elderly who have visual problems, you can tell them the word on the paper.

5


Game 2

King of Guesses Purpose:

To understand the favorites of the elderly

Materials:  Several pieces of A4 paper  A pair of scissors  A pen

Minimum Number of Participants: 2 Steps: 1. Cut a piece ofA4 paper into 6 rectangular pieces. 2. Write down different themes (favorite food, fruit, films, songs etc. ) on the small paper cards. 3. Invite the elderly person to select the topic he or she wants talk about. 4. The elderly person gives hints to you. Points to note: Examples of themes can be found in Appendix 2.

To be Continued…

6


Game 2

King of Guesses Steps: 5. You guess the answer. 6. After 5 guesses, the elderly person announces the correct answer. 7. You select the topic you want to talk about. 8. Gives hints to the elderly person. 9. Invite the elderly person to guess the answer. 10. After 5 guesses, you announce the correct answer. 11. Record the number of correct answers respectively. After five rounds, see who the “king of guesses� is. Points to note: If the elderly person has difficulties in giving hints, you can raise some questions to guide him or her. For example, is it a kind of fruit or an activity?

7


Game 3

Drawing in your mind Purpose: To understand the family members of the elderly Material:  Several pieces of A4 paper  A pen

Minimum Number of Participants:

2

Steps: 1. Invite the elderly person to describe the appearance of one of his or her relatives. 2. Draw a picture according to the hints given. 3. Guess the relationship between the elderly person and the person described. 4. Invite the elderly person to share a memorable experience between them.

To be Continued……

8


Game 3

Drawing in your mind

Steps: 5. You describe the appearance of one of your relatives. 6. The elderly person draws a picture according to the hints given by you. 7. The elderly person guesses the relationship between you and the person described. 8. You share an experience with the elderly person.

9


Game 4

Step into the past Purpose:

To let the younger generations understand the past of the elderly

Materials: 

A pen

A map

Several pieces of paper

A scanner

A camera

A computer

Steps: Stage 1: Preparation 1. Ask the elderly person where his or her most memorable place is. 2. Discuss the available days to go to the place again. Stage 2: Return to the memorable place 1. Go to the place on the scheduled days. 2. Talk and listen to the elderly person about his or her past memory. 3. Jot down some special notes. 4. Take photos for later reference.

To be continued…

10


Game 4 Stage 3: Diary making 1. Group your gathered information (words and photos). 2. Design and draft the outline of the diary. 3. Put down the information on pieces of paper. 4. Stick photos on decided area. 5. Decorate the diary with drawings or anything that can make the diary more beautiful.

Stage 4: Online Diary 1. Create an account in any communication platforms (Facebook or Blog) for the elderly person 2. Scan the diary on the computer 3. Share with his or her friends and relatives. Points to note: 1. If the elderly forgets where the experience happened, you can suggest a place to create new memory with him or her. 2. Invite the elderly person to participate in the design of their online diary. 3. For the elderly who have walking difficulties, do not bring them to places that are inaccessible for wheel chair.

11


Useful Tips 1. If the elderly are too shy or with little interest to talk, you may encourage them by sharing your story first. 2. If the elderly cannot remember their story well, you can guide them by some hints. 3. Speak loudly and slowly with patience towards the elderly. 4. Use simple words for communication. 5. Respect the elderly and do not interrupt while they are speaking. 6. Do not keep on asking the elderly questions which they refuse to answer. 7. Praise them if they have done a good job to help them to build up confidence in communication. 8. Make use of body language. Touching hands or shoulders can give them a sense of security and encouragement.

12


Appendix I for Game 1

Park

Family

Work

Happy

Surprise

Bad 13


Appendix I for Game 1

School

Holiday

Travel

Good

Sad

Watch 14


Appendix II for Game 2

Leisure Activity

Food

Music

Film

Hobby

Place 15


Appendix II for Game 2

Trip

Fashion

Friends

Study

Sport

Feeling 16


Appendix III for Game 4 Examples of basic questions about elderly’s past memory Place: Where was it? Answer: ___________________________________________ Experience: What had happened? Answer: ____________________________________________ Time: When did the event happen? Answer: ____________________________________________ People: Who were with you together in the event? Answer: ____________________________________________ Feeling: How did you feel? Answer: ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ Reason: Why did you ‌? Answer: ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________

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How to Communicate Effectively with the Elderly through Simple Activities