Article Series

The Signals

Article submitted by Joy C. Davidson, End of Life Coach, Pastor, Author, Speaker, owner of Joyful Transitions, LLC. Joy can be reached at 720-244-2660.

In my last article, entitled “The Time Gift” posted in December 2013, I promised a follow-up article next month. Well ……………. The good news is that here is that follow-up article; the bad news is that it has been six months since that article.

To review, I have been writing a series of articles regarding a fabulous book I read, “How to Say It to Seniors: Closing the Communication Gap with Our Elders” in order to attempt to give you highlights and crucial information from the book while (hopefully) interesting you in reading the book for yourself. To read the previous articles, please click on the following links:

  1. Agendas & Advocacy - CLICK HERE
  2. Developmental Orphans - CLICK HERE
  3. My Dream - CLICK HERE
  4. The Time Gift - CLICK HERE

As I move forward in this series of articles, please note that I am not highlighting information from each chapter. To begin to utilize the information in the book, it really is necessary to read ALL of the book, including those chapters I have not touched. For example, the chapter about “The Predictable Dilemmas of Getting Old” discusses common issues our older adults might bring up and gives examples of potential resolutions that recognize their need for control and their drive to leave a legacy. Finally, I will not be discussing the last couple chapters and the useful information that brings all of the great information in the book together in a nice, neat package with a bow and ribbon on top.

In “The Time Gift”, I asked “is there any better gift that we can give our beloved older adults than the time to help them find their legacy?” Time is extremely important in facilitating the emergence of the older adult’s legacy. So how do we signal to the older adult that we are ready, willing, and able listeners and legacy coaches?

The first signal is to realize that timing matters a great deal. It matters whether we convey that we are rushed and wanting to move onto our next task or whether we convey that we are willing to listen for as long as they need us to listen and willing to explore whatever subjects are deemed relevant for that day. It may not be easy to slow ourselves down enough to do that, but it will make all the difference in the world.

The second signal is realizing the importance of the setting for the conversation. It makes a difference if we are taking a leisurely walk, sitting on a park bench, or sitting in the middle of a busy, noisy restaurant.

The third signal is the use of signaling tools that indicate we understand the issues they face and we are willing to discuss those issues. These tools are both nonverbal and verbal. Nonverbal tools are how we “talk” with our body or our body language and the use of pauses. Verbal tools are not only those things you would expect such as tone, attitude, and any hidden messages. There are also various forms of questions such as when we look for the opportunity to share a personal experience about the subject in question. The perspective question in which we look to learn from our older adult’s perspective is another type of question. The final type of question is to explore parallel circumstances in our life to that of the older adult so that we can learn from their years of experience.

The final signal is to develop our skill in interpreting the answers that we receive.

As I prepare to close this article, what I want to share with you is how much writing these articles has helped me to realize that while I might have completely read the book I have been sharing about, I still have much to learn and take in from this book. In other words, I have just realized that I really need (and want!) to read this book again, because my learning journey has just begun in regard to having fantastic communication with older adults.

Has yours?

More about Joy Davidson and Joyful Transitions, LLC

Founded in 2011, Joy C. Davidson and Joyful Transitions, LLC, are a voice of experience working with older adults and their families as they face changes, seek late in life purpose, and search for the resources and confidence to live a powerful life. Our support is available through speaking and educational presentations and curriculum.

© 2014, All Rights Reserved by Joy C, Davidson, Joyful Transitions, LLC

Posted June 2014 on