Why is it so difficult for people to understand that they must speak clearly, slowly and loudly if they expect seniors to hear and understand the questions being asked, or the instructions being given?

This phenomenon bothers me most when it involves medical people who are being relied upon to make decisions and take action for the benefit of the senior. Time and time again, when I am accompanying my 83-year-old friend, I witness medical staff of all kinds racing ahead with their queries and their commands, completely oblivious to the fact that their patient/my friend hasn’t heard or understood a thing–at least, not the crucial issues at hand. And then she begins to panic. And then I become the interpreter for her.

The problem with this is not that I mind helping out. I don’t. Not at all. On the contrary, I am relieved that I am able to be there, and to be of help. What bothers me is the danger of her feeling  dependent and resigned to her fate. “Well, I can’t hear, and don’t understand. So what’s the point. Just do whatever!”

No wonder so many 80-year-old women tend to give up and sink into powerlessness and dependency.

Thankfully, my hard-of-hearing friend is also a very stubborn Dutch woman, so that’s not going to happen to her!

Come on, people. Look at the person you’re talking to. Look into her eyes. Pay attention. Then speak slowly, speak clearly, and speak up!


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