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Communication with Older Adults

Introduction


On a daily basis, the Aging Network addresses issues of how best to communicate with individuals. Health literacy, cultural competency, and meeting the needs of persons with limited English proficiency must all be taken into consideration to ensure effective communications.

This Web page on Communicating with Older Adults offers tools that will help you better meet these everyday challenges:

General Communication Principles


The principles for communicating with the public apply to all ages. Some of the resources available from the Federal government include:

Health Literacy


Health literacy means being able to find, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Health literacy is important because low health literacy is linked to poor health outcomes.

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Tools for Improving Health Literacy

  • Quick Guide to Health Literacy
    Consult the Quick Guide to Health Literacy to learn more about this important issue and what professionals can do to improve health literacy among adults. Visit the DHHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s (ODPHP) Website: http://www.health.gov/communication/literacy/quickguide/.
  • Health Literacy Power Point Presentation and other resources
    View Health Literacy Power Point slides and find other resources by visiting
    ODPHP’s Website at: http://www.health.gov/communication/literacy/default.htm.
  • Relevance of Health Literacy to Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs)*
    Download this issue brief which has implications for many in the aging network here. Click here for download. (NOTE document attached)

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Plain Language


“Plain language” refers to communication with an audience in a way that they will understand information the first time they read or hear it.
For information on this topic visit: www.plainlanguage.gov. This site also includes a guide about how to write “reader friendly” documents at: www.plainlanguage.gov/howto/guidelines/reader-friendly.cfm.


Website Design and New Media

  • The National Institutes of Health has developed a checklist on how to make websites easier for seniors to use. For more information visit:
    http://www.nih.gov/icd/od/ocpl/resources/wag/documents/checklist.pdf.
  • Making Websites More Accessible for Users Who are Older and/or have a Disability Download an issue brief on the topic of website accessibility here (NOTE -document attached).
  • New media provides an exciting new way to connect people to information and resources. AIDS.gov and CDC.gov offer comprehensive guides to assist organizations better understand and use new media.

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Last Modified: 12/31/1600