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Communication Strategies Police Can Use With The Elderly.

1720 words - 7 pages

The Oxford Dictionary (2002) defines elderly as 'past middle age', and the term middle aged is described as 'the time of human life between youth and old age, usually reckoned as the years between 40 and 60', (, 2005). From these definitions, an elderly person is someone who is over the age of 60. This age group accounts for around 2.5 million people, which is over 12.8% of Australia's population. (Photius Coutsoukis, 2004) This essay will outline the majority of problems that the elderly have and will describe how I working as a police officer would overcome these barriers by applying effective communications strategies.While the elderly may have communication issues associated with their subgroup as a whole, the main problem that occurs concerning their interactions with police would be the failure of police personnel in distinguishing that a problem exists, these problems either being of a physical or mental nature. Other main problems that are associated with hindering communications with the elderly include; cognitive impairments, sensory loss or impairment of hearing or vision, speech disabilities being congenital or health related, mental disabilities such as dementia, physical limitations like fatigue and can also include such aspects as the environment that the elderly are in.The prevalent barrier that causes communication problems between police and the elderly is failure on the police's behalf to recognising what the exact communication problem is, combined with the ignorance of not only the police but also the community in general perceiving all older people to be blind and deaf. This can cause frustration on behalf of the elderly and make them feel as though they are not being respected. (Berne 1997)Loss or impairment of hearing or vision can make it hard to communicate to anyone. As humans use both to communicate effectively, the loss or impairment of either can make it difficult for the person to understand what is being said. Bolton (1999) suggests that non verbal language is believed to account for 85% of the communication. Furthermore, if one is limited by the use of vision then they will miss the majority of the conversation. The same can be said about hearing, as much of what is being communicated is as words, someone with a hearing impairment will have trouble with the conversation.Speech disabilities such as the slurring of words, not being able to pronounce words and the speed at which they can talk can cause problems for the person they are communicating with, as they may misunderstand what is being said. They may cut the person off while they are speaking, as they are taking too long to talk. This will cause frustration to the sufferer, as they will feel what they have said or what they are trying to say means little to the listener. (Cloud & Townsend 2003)Dementia sufferers tend to have a combination of factors, which contribute to difficulties in communicating. These can include cognitive impairments,...

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