Communicating Beyond Words
Challenges of Eldercare Professionals

Sandra W. Haymon, Ph.D. – Presenter

Professional healthcare providers often find that when caring for elderly patients they also spend an inordinate amount of time interacting with the patient’s family members, especially the designated family caregiver. Oftentimes information is misunderstood and communication breaks down. Family caregivers commonly project misplaced anger and frustration onto healthcare providers. In this presentation Dr. Haymon teaches participants how to communicate effectively by diffusing anger, hearing beyond words, and practicing empathic presence. She addresses end-of-life concerns and offers ways to handle difficult conversations with elderly and delusional patients.


Participants will learn:

  • How to communicate effectively (verbally and non-verbally) with elderly patients including those with dementia or who may be delusional
  • Emotional issues and end-of-life concerns common to elderly patients
  • How to have difficult conversations regarding life changing decisions
  • How to address concerns about death and the dying process
  • How to respond to questions about after-life beliefs
  • How to help elderly patients find value and meaning in their lives
  • How to listen beyond words and practice empathic presence
  • How to validate without agreeing
  • How to set clear and firm boundaries with family members
  • How to diffuse frustration and anger
  • How to take themselves out of other people’s emotional equations
  • How to help family members say goodbye and bring closure before and after the death of a loved one
  • How to help family members move thru the grieving process


Who Should Attend: All healthcare providers (physicians, physician assistants, RNs, LPNs, CNPs, CNAs); management, staff and volunteers working in hospitals, nursing homes, memory impaired facilities, personal care homes, and assisted living settings; and psychologists, social workers, and certified professional counselors.

Format: Presentation followed by a Question and Answer period

Length: 1 hour

Presentation materials are available for Continuing Education Credits.