Communication is made up of skills that many of us take for granted. We use our words, tone of voice and body language to send messages to each other.

As people age, they can develop illnesses or impairments. These losses affect a person’s ability to communicate well with the people around them. Our role is to deliver and receive messages clearly, simply, and accurately.

It is important that, as workers, we can connect and communicate with the older people in meaningful ways. Our role is to help others to make decisions, understand their choices and safeguard the dignity of the individual.

In this module we will look at:

  • What communication is and the elements that make up communication
  • What skills are important for effective communication
  • The common barriers to communication for older people
  • Strategies for important conversations

To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.

– Tony Robins

Standards Mapping

Click the coloured headings below to view how the content in this lesson correlates with the Aged Care and National Disability Service Standards:

Aged Care Standards

  • Each consumer is supported to exercise choice and independence and communicate their decisions
  • Workers communicate respectfully and recognise and respect a consumer’s individuality in all aspects of care and services
  • The workforce can describe different ways information is communicated to make sure it’s easy to understand and accessible to diverse consumers
  • Workers listen to what the consumer wants
  • Relevant risks to a consumer’s safety, health and well-being are observed and managed
  • The outcomes of assessment and planning are effectively communicated to the consumer
  • Services and supports for daily living assist each consumer to have social and personal relationships
  • Deterioration or change of a consumer’s mental health, cognitive or physical function, capacity or condition is recognised and responded to in a timely manner
  • Workers are aware of when to utilise an interpreter vs. a bilingual worker
  • Consumers are aware of their right to communicate in their preferred language
  • The workforce is recruited, trained, equipped and supported to deliver the outcomes required by these standards
  • Workforce interactions with consumers are kind, caring and respectful
  • Good information management systems mean the consumer does not have to keep repeating their story

Disability Service Standards

  • The service supports active decision-making and individual choice including the timely provision of information in appropriate formats
  • The service works together with an individual to identify their strengths, needs and life goals
  • The service provides accessible information in a range of formats
  • The service monitors and addresses potential barriers to access
  • The service uses person-centred approaches including the active involvement of people with disability, families, friends, carers and advocates to review policies, practices, procedures and service provision