Elderspeak is driving me nuts!!


I did a search of the forum and came up with only one article but it has got to be more prevalent than that. The article by Anne-Marie Botek gave examples of calling out elders pet names like sweetie or honey but it is so much more than that, I'm going to cite some examples from an excellent article at verywell health (https://www.verywellhealth.com/elderspeak-and-older-adults-97972)

"Elderspeak involved speaking slowly, using a high-pitched voice, using terms of endearment such as "honey" or "sweetheart," and speaking to the adult as if he was an infant or young child."

"Oh Honey Bun, you want to go to bed, don't you?"

"Sweetie, you're just so cute!"

"Is our tummy hungry for some foodie?"

The article also identifies key problems with elderspeak

"*It's Irritating, Degrading, and Patronizing

*It Contributes to Depersonalization

*It Implies Power

*It Conveys the Presumed Incompetence of the Elder

*It Increases Challenging Behaviors"

It seems to be the common practice at the nursing home, goes hand in hand with the cheerful and stupid attitude when asked a question, and the friendlier aides are the most culpable. Anyone else?



What I observed with my grandmother is that one CNA was calling her "mom." My grandma became very agitated when CNA left the room... VERY agitated. For the next couple of hours, grandma was upset about where she had went to, because that was her daughter and she needed to know where she was.

Like with many things in life, use common sense. If the elders appreciate the baby talk and pet names, there's no harm in using them, and may make them feel comforted.

If they or their family feel it's demeaning, or it increases confusion, then communicate in a way that is direct and professional.

there was a couple at my moms AL (he passed away tho)
but all the people there (workers) called them, Mother and Father.

since they all called them that, im assuming the family asked for it to be that way.

and the husband and wife, called each other mother and father.

I had trouble posting here
the box to post *inside* didn't enlarge when I started typing.
and I had to go OUT and come back in to the thread 4 times.
it wanted to make just one long line. wouldn't let me 'enter' to skip a line

There are a couple of aides who call some of the women mom or grandma, I'm pretty sure they're not related but it is a small town so you never know...

One of the women who does this is very friendly and well liked and she doesn't talk down to the residents, but I think calling someone who isn't sure who their real family is mom or grandma would only add even more confusion.

I don't know if this falls under Elderspeak, but a CNA called my grandmother "mom" several times once, I suppose it was an attempt to be endearing, and it confused the heck out of my grandmother, it made her agitated when her "daughter" left the room, and ticked me off! Don't say that to someone who suffers from dementia, duh!

OK, this has made me rethink my behavior, as a therapist in a Neuro ICU, and I thank you for that. I have some patients that I see for a week or more.. and some I only see once or twice. In my defense, I often can not figure out how to pronounce the names of my patients , as they come from all over the world. So I often address my elders as "young man or lady". I have often been told I have "made their day".. but perhaps not.. I work in a city known for calling everyone "Hon", and I do avoid that! I try not to be rude, but I do like to address everyone by some means. I do understand this thread is about long term residents at facilitys. but thank you for reminding me!

I have always hated hearing condescending personnel talk down to older patients. It’s disrespectful and contemptuous. Also, clerks, receptionists and even family members do this too.

Even though my mom has dementia, don’t think she can be talked down to! She’s also mercilessly astute to those who need correction. Me too.

"Oh, Mr. Independent!"
Said in the E.R. as incompetent nurse removing IV, pulling his hairs out.
She was hurting him, she is not only lucky He was not someone that pinches or hits, but very lucky I don't either as I was standing behind her. Lol.

And, I am so "old fashioned", I want them to address the patient respectfully, fifty years your senior, it is Mr. Patient to you!

cwillie, that is good to know. I would have thought it was the opposite.

FF, when I was reading online about elderspeak I was surprised to discover that a study shows that talking that way to those with dementia actually increases behavioural problems - they may be lost and confused but nobody wants to be treated like a child.

Every time this topic comes up people talk about nicknames, but that isn't the thing that bothers me it's the tone of voice and the patronizing attitude.

two ladies are always huddled together - "Aw, aren't they cute"

during meals - "come on, try another bite for me" and "Oh, you ate up all your dinner, good girl!"

when someone is obviously in a bad mood "I think someone needs to have a nap!"

And I very much expect the nurses who bring medication to tell people, "I have your medicine" instead of "here's a bite of pudding/applesauce" unless there is a known problem with compliance.

And then there is the way aides will sail by someone who is repeatedly making a reasonable request as though they can't see or hear them at all.