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.

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