Communicating About Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias (HLOL #193)

Katrien Goethals is Partner at the Institute for the Advancement of Health and Wellbeing: Dementia/Alzheimer’s. She lectures on dementia, facilitates groups for caregivers, and moderates a podcast that is part of a larger project to examine Alzheimer’s and Dementia from a public policy, public relations, and advocacy perspective. In all this work, Goethals brings her perspective as a family member and caregiver and world view from growing up in Belgium.

In this podcast, Helen Osborne talks with Katrien Goethals about:

  • Dementia, a cognitive impairment decline that affects mental functioning. There are many types of dementia that can affect people of all ages.
  • Dementia is a looming, yet under-recognized, public health crisis worldwide. Yet there is no definitive way to prevent or treat dementia.
  • How listeners can help raise awareness, educate, and advocate. Examples from many perspectives including public health, clinical settings, and as family members, caregivers, and friends.

More Ways to Learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Chapter 19 is especially relevant to this podcast, “Know Your Audience: Emotions and Cognition.”

Read a transcript of this podcast.

Elderspeak (HLOL #182)

Anna I. Corwin Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Saint Mary’s College of California. Trained in Linguistic and Medical Anthropology, Dr. Corwin’s work focuses on understanding how cultural practices and communication shape older individuals’ experiences of their lives, their bodies, and aging.  Much of Dr. Corwin’s research has examined how and why American Catholic nuns age more “successfully” than their lay counterparts, benefitting not only from physical health but also mental and emotional well-being.

In this podcast, Dr. Anna Corwin and Helen Osborne talk about:

  • Elderspeak. Characteristics can include simplified speech and vocabulary, a slower rate, exaggerated intonation, elevated pitch and volume, and collective pronouns. 
  • Why some people use elderspeak. And possible negative outcomes when they do. 
  • Dr. Corwin’s research as a linguistic anthropologist. Stories and lessons learned from her year living with nuns at a Catholic convent.  
  • Examples of effective linguistic tools to try when interacting with people who have aphasia, dementia, or other conditions impeding communication. 

More Ways to Learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 11, 14, 19, 22, 24, 31, 41.

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