Thursday, October 18, 2012 New Guide Helps Providers Make Effective Connection With Senior Patients "Communicating With Older Adults: An Evidence-Based Review of What Really Works," the latest report from The Gerontological Society of America, provides 40 pages of recommended guidelines for health care providers interacting with the fastest-growing age segment of America's population. The report provides 29 specific recommendations in 4 categories: general tips for improving interactions with older adults, general tips for improving face-to-face communication with older adults, tips for optimizing interactions between health care professionals and older patients, and tips for communicating with older adults with dementia. Among the specific steps outlined in the report, providers are encouraged to avoid speech that might be seen as patronizing to an older person, verify listener comprehension during a conversation, and pay close attention to sentence structure when conveying critical information. The recommendations were contributed by experts in the fields of gerontology and communications. Each is accompanied by a brief explanation of the rationale, tips for implementing the recommendation in busy health care settings, and selected references for further reading. The objective is to encourage behaviors that consider the unique abilities and challenges of older adult patients and produce positive, effective interactions among everyone involved.