HEALTHIER AGING: Reaching and teaching older adults

February 2006 
Volume 36  Number 2
Pages 17 - 17
  PDF Version Available!



ALTHOUGH ADVANCING AGE doesn't normally impair intelligence, common age-related changes can influence an older adult's ability to learn. In this article, I'll discuss how social, cognitive, and functional changes affect the learning process for an older adult and suggest ways to overcome age-related barriers to learning.

Getting ready to teach

Motivation and readiness to learn set the stage for teaching patients of all ages. Explain to your patient why the information you're teaching is important to her and how she'll benefit from the new knowledge or skill. Then use familiar, reliable sources to give her information. For instance, you might give her brochures from the American Heart Association or the American Lung Association.

An older adult learns from experience and likes to relate new tasks to familiar activities. So draw on her experiences or interests when you plan your teaching. Because each ...

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