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Elderspeak

Response Styles

What if you are a target of patronizing speech?

Some people dislike the use of "baby talk", or familiar names or terms of endearment from people whom they do not know well.

What strategies can they use to deal with this?

 The victim of patronizing speech is in a bind. The person using it is usually:

  • Well-intentioned
  • Doing it out of concern and caring
  • Unaware that he or she is using patronizing speech

But it can be viewed by the victim and/or co-workers as:

  • Controlling
  • Showing a lack of respect

It's difficult to tell people using patronizing speech that you don't like it without making them feel bad.

Here are two approaches.

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 Cooperative response style

The person can go along with the Elderspeak, and not complain.

The Staff would see this elder as cooperative and polite.

The elder may feel a loss of control and self-esteem and might stop communicating as much.

 
Assertive response style

The elder can politely tell the person using patronizing speech that he would prefer to be called by a certain name or not to have terms of endearment used.

This is effective in highlighting that the communication style was not appropriate.

This allows the elder to keep personal control in this and future communications.

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