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.

Older Adults, Brain Changes, and Health Understanding (HLOL #163)

Mark Hochhauser, PhD, is a psychologist and readability consultant in Golden Valley, MN. He also is a long-time health literacy champion. Among his many accomplishments, Hochhauser has researched the readability of consent forms, HIPAA notices, and patient’s bill of rights. He has given more than 100 presentations and authored over 200 articles. Hochhauser has also taught undergraduate and graduate courses on topics that include Adulthood and Aging, Human Learning and Memory, Motivation and Emotion, and Abnormal Psychology.

In this podcast, Mark Hochhauser and Helen Osborne talk about:

  • Brain changes including working memory, processing speed, selective attention, and other factors that tend to decline with age.
  • What listeners can do to effectively communicate with older adults.
  • What patients and families can do to better understand health information.
  • How technology offers hope, opportunity, and tools for health 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: 3, 19, 22, 32

Read the transcript of this podcast.

Communicating about Health with Older Adults (HLOL #50)

Carolyn Ijams Speros DNSc, FNP-BC, is a nationally recognized expert in nursing and patient education. Throughout her career, she has worked in nursing education, nursing administration, and advanced nursing practice with a focus on systems and strategies in nursing that promote patient education and health literacy. Dr. Speros is Associate Professor of Nursing at the University of Memphis and also maintains a practice as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

In this podcast, she talks with Helen Osborne about communicating with older adults. Topics include:

  • Special learning needs of older adults due to cognitive, psychological, and physical changes associated with aging.
  • Strategies to communicate effectively, even when there is limited time.
  • Respectful ways to assess and confirm that information is understood.

More Ways to Learn:

  • Dr. Carolyn Speros is Associate Professor at the University of Memphis Loewenberg School of Nursing. You can email her directly at csperos@memphis.edu
  • Speros CI, “More than Words: Promoting Health Literacy in Older Adults,” The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. 2009; 14(3). Available at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/717469
  • Speros CI, “Health Literacy: Concept Analysis,” Journal of Advanced Nursing. 2005; 50(6), 633-640.
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Toolkit for Making Written Material Clear and Effective. Part 9: Material for older adults. Available at http://www.cms.gov/WrittenMaterialsToolkit/11_ToolkitPart09.asp#TopOfPage
  • Knowles M, 1990. The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species, 4th ed. Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing Company.
  • Knowles M, 1980. The Modern Practice of Adult Education: From Pedagogy to Andragogy. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Cambridge Adult Education.
  • Osborne H (host), Stuen C (guest), September 8, 2009. Health Literacy Out Loud Podcast #21: Age-Related Vision Loss. Available at http://www.healthliteracyoutloud.com/2009/09/08/hlol-21-age-related-vision-loss/
  • Osborne H, 2005. Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Jones & Bartlett: Sudbury, MA.

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 22, 7.

Read a transcript of this podcast.

Age-Related Vision Loss (HLOL #21)

Cynthia StuenCynthia Stuen, PhD/DSW is Senior Vice President for Policy and Evaluation at Lighthouse International, headquartered in New York City. She advocates for policy at the national, state and local level while maintaining involvement in international efforts to preserve sight and prevent excess disability resulting from vision impairment.

Dr. Stuen’s entire career has been in the field of aging and she currently is Chair of the American Society on Aging. She is the author of numerous publications on topics that include age-related sensory loss, access to environments for older adults with impaired vision, and contributions older adults and their family and friends can make to program planning and service delivery.

In this podcast Dr. Stuen talks with Helen Osborne about age-related vision loss. Topics include:

  • The continuum of vision as people age
  • How to know when someone has vision loss (but doesn’t say so)
  • Ways to communicate effectively in print and on the web

More Ways to Learn:

  • Lighthouse International is a leading non-profit organization dedicated to fighting vision loss through prevention, treatment and empowerment. Available at http://lighthouse.org
  • Making Text Legible: Designing for People with Partial Sight. Includes guidelines and examples of effective legibility choices for anyone. Available by the Lighthouse International at www.lighthouse.org/accessibility/legible
  • Effective Color Contrast: Designing for People with Partial Sight and Color Deficiencies. Guidelines and specific examples of effective color contrast. Available from Lighthouse International at www.lighthouse.org/accessibility/effective-color-contrast
  • Making Your Web Site Senior Friendly is an informative checklist Web designers can use while creating online material for older adults. Published by the National Institute on Aging and the National Library of Medicine, it is available at www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/checklist.pdf
  • Making Web Sites More Accessible for Users Who Are Older and/or Have a Disability. Sponsored by the U.S. Administration on aging, this website includes background information on visual disabilities and offers strategies for improving accessibility. Available at www.adrc-tae.org/tiki-index.php?page=TAEIssueBriefs
  • LowBrowseTM is a free add-on extension to the Mozilla Firefox web browser to help people with low vision access the web.  www.lowbrowse.org or email lowbrowse@lighthouse.org.
  • Osborne, H. On Call Magazine, 2000. “In Other Words…When Vision Is an Issue…Communicating With Patients Who Are Visually Impaired” Offers practical tips for designing materials for people with visual challenges. Available at www.healthliteracy.com/article.asp?PageID=3774
  • Worldwide Web Consortium. Available at http://www.w3.org

Pauline Hamel Talks About Intergenerational Health Communication (HLOL #11)

Pauline C. Hamel, Ed.D, PT, teaches in Boston University’s online Master of Science in Health Communication program and Northeastern University’s Health Sciences program. She is a physical therapist, educator, former healthcare administrator, geriatric specialist, and now consultant. Her interests include interdisciplinary research, teaching, writing, and consulting in the areas of health communication, health literacy, public health, professional development, intergenerational service learning, and health promotion in older adults. You can reach Pauline Hamel at phamel@bu.edu.

In the podcast, she talks with Helen Osborne about intergenerational health communication. Topics include:

  • How college students and older adults are often more alike than different
  • Ways different generations can learn from, and teach, one another
  • Why service learning matters and ways you can get involved

More ways to learn about intergenerational teaching and learning:

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