Wednesday, April 09, 2008


The most important thing in communication
is to hear what isn't being said.
Peter Drucker (1909-2005)

Although this may have been said by a management writer, I see the application of it daily working with my residents with Alzheimer's disease. In communicating with them I very seldom take what they verbalize as the whole of what they are attempting to communicate. Much of the time verbalization taken alone would have no meaning. One must watch every aspect of the resident to fully understand the message. Many of our residents have some type of aphasia. So what the brain is telling the tongue to say is not the same thing that is actually said. If I were to only listen to the words, no communication would happen and we would both become very frustrated. By observing mannerisms and posture, I can find a context for the communication. Then by using cues from the environment, I can further deduce what the resident is attempting to tell me. Often a letter received or something heard in passing can lead to a thought that one is unable to communicate. I find the more I know about a person’s life history and personality, the easier it is to read between the words. So before anyone moves into our home, I do a through assessment not only of their needs, but also of their life story. By being observant we can communicate needs and desires without necessarily having the correct words.

1 comment:

Flag Gazer said...

You are a wise lady - God Bless you in your work.