Getting to “Yes” With Older Adults

In our training sessions with staffs of retirement facilities, we begin with the following premise: Whether we like to admit it or not, the aging process changes us. As with the senses of vision and hearing, our ability to process information decreases with age. The ability to process information accurately, completely, and quickly peaks in the early 20s and then declines. At age 40, on average, 50% of the inborn level of fluid intelligence-our ability to quickly and accurately process information-has disappeared; by age 60, on average, about 75% is gone.But the good news is that we compensate for the loss of fluid intelligence with a second form of smarts: crystallized intelligence. That is our life knowledge-what we know from experience. The ability to use that form of intelligence does not decrease with age. In fact, we know more with each passing year.This means we have to handle older adults somewhat differently than youthful ones. Older adults will understand what you have to say, but you’ve got to present it in a way that suits their stage of life.Why older adults resistIf you were to be asked what two plus two equals, you would immediately know the answer, virtually without conscious thought; that is crystallized intelligence. On the other hand, if you were asked what 231 multiplied by 963 equals, you would not immediately know the answer, and neither would most other people.They would have to process the information consciously in order to arrive at an answer. That is fluid intelligence, and with age, starting for many people in their mid-40s, they would make errors in processing and might arrive at the wrong answer.Information is a lot like math in that a fair amount of fluid intelligence is called for to process the input. With age, that level of fluid intelligence is no longer easily available to many people. Therefore, if they are required to use fluid intelligence to understand complex information, they are likely to make errors in processing and:o Not completely take in what is said
o Not accurately understand what is said
o Give up trying to understand because they cannot process the information quickly enough; it is all too overwhelming and goes by too fast.You’ve got to overcome these communication barriers by tuning in to your older adults really well. It’s not just a matter of slowing down; it’s a matter of picking up on what they most want to hear from you.Give older adults the right informationYou will never get a recommendation accepted with adults unless they (1) get enough information and (2) feel comfortable with the amount of time they have to process it. “Enough” will vary for each person, and it is defined in two ways: by quantity and the kind of information the client wants.Think about the information requirement like this:o People need different amounts of information to feel comfortable making decisions. Information is like water: some people need a glass and others need a gallon. Those regularly work with adults who want to know every conceivable detail, while others simply want top-line information. It’s your job to figure out how much each individual needs.
o People need different kinds of information. Advisors typically want to give adults lots of numbers. Older adults generally don’t want very many numbers because they require fluid intelligence to process. They typically need other kinds of information.Once you have determined their information style, aid older adults using their crystallized intelligence-their experience-as it applies to the investment issue under discussion. Discuss your recommendations in terms of their life experiences. Tie your presentation to positive outcomes they have already experienced or want to experience. Get to know adults so that you can tailor recommendations to their lives.Give older adults more timeAt age 17, an individual’s ability to process new information accurately, completely, and quickly is about at the peak. At age 60, that capability is very, very low. Yet, 17 year-olds have many more accidents driving automobiles than do 60-year-olds. Why?The answer, of course, is experience. For the 17-year-old, every potentially dangerous situation is new. He has to think about it and then react. For the 60-year-old, every potentially dangerous situation has been seen many times over. He doesn’t have to think about it; he can just react based on his experience, which has been hard-wired into his central nervous system.
Similarly, an older person who uses his life experience will usually be able to make a good decision. But, that often requires the presenter to help him connect that experience with the subject at hand. Make time in your meetings to do that.In the typical sales situation, adults do not have the time and latitude for rational thought. The client is in front of the advisor, and the advisor wants a decision on his recommendation. Older adults will feel particularly rushed and pressured in this situation because of the decline in fluid intelligence. They simply must take longer to process information and think through what you have said.Even if the older client goes home and thinks about the recommendation, it is likely he will have difficulty following the reasoning. Serious reasoning is hard work. It requires large amounts of physiological energy. Oftentimes, older adults will run out of energy before they have completely and thoroughly analyzed the recommendation. But that doesn’t mean they don’t make good decisions.Older adults make intuitive decisionsThe upshot is that you must remember when you’re working with older adults that they will substantially base their decisions on experience, which manifests itself as intuition and gut reaction. It’s basically a chemical reaction!When the brain hears a proposition, its neurotransmitters automatically kick in. Chemicals, like dopamine, transmit nerve impulses. When the input is positive-whether it’s more money or a delicious meal-dopamine circuits are activated to different degrees. The amount of “yes juice” an individual produces in response to any individual reward is a function of his or her past experience and biology.So when you bring up a particular concept, your client’s brain makes a rapid chemical decision about it. Neurotransmitter systems go into action before a person is conscious of having made a decision. In a very real sense, decisions are made unconsciously and then justified by reason or by the articulation of experience. In other words, brain research tells us that gut decisions are in fact well rooted in the individual’s experience and not simply a passing irrational response.Younger adults may be able to rationalize that gut reaction faster, and to articulate their reasoning. Older adults may not be able to put their reasons into words so quickly. Give them time, and respect their process.7 Quick TipsLife experience is an amazing teacher, and older adults have a lot of it. So when working with them to meet their financial goals, keep these tips in mind:-Don’t rush seniors into a decision.
-Check in often during the conversation to make sure they are with you.
-Ask them how much they need to know.
-Don’t inundate them with extraneous information.
-Don’t focus on numbers if it’s not their style.
-Show respect for their life experience.
-Tie your suggestions to their life goals.

Why Adult Education?

Whether one appreciates it or not, to live is to learn on a daily basis. Unless you simply repeat what you have always done, day in and day out, you are encountering at least slightly new situations which require you to think and lean in new and possibly challenging ways. Nothing is quite the same as it was decades ago, whether it be grocery shopping, driving a car, going to the doctor, or making career decisions, financial plans or political choices. The world has changed, and you and I must change with it!Adult education is based on the idea that there is much more change in life than might meet the eye. Among the most successful people around are those who embrace life conscientiously, learn constantly, and wrestle with life’s challenges and opportunities with an intelligent and thoughtful enthusiasm. In other words, those who “make good sense a way of life.” Some individuals have a natural curiosity and interest in ideas and things new. They enjoy learning and are easily comfortable, even happy, with change and growth. Others, however, seem to learn, grow and change only by being sort of “dragged through” life. They tend to have less of an appreciation of the somewhat exciting dynamics that growth and change present. Theoretically, adult education is good for everyone. But, only those who relish life will likely enjoy it.Adult education — sometimes referred to as “on-going education” — might resemble classroom learning in that you may register for, pay for, and attend a presentation or seminar in a formal classroom setting. But, very likely an adult education offering is shorter than courses of study at a high school, technical school, college or university. Each session is more “bite-sized” and is measured in clock hours rather than months or semesters. Usually anything resembling “homework” is optional and without any graded test or exam at the end of the session. Generally, the topic is very specialized and is intended to be informative, practical or insightful rather immediately. The purpose for each adult education opportunity is usually very specific and evident. At the end of the session, you leave with information usable almost at once.Almost any topic is worthy of adult education status because in 21st Century society an ever increasing awareness is a requirement for responsible participation and effective decision-making. Life planning, political issues, health and medical issues, life-style issues, how-to-do-it items, household management, business management, time management, physical self-care, philosophy, religious ideas, culture and the arts, and just about anything else can be included in fruitful adult education presentations. And, while sometimes “a little learning is a dangerous thing” (for learning is like money or power, much depends on how you use them), you can only begin serious learning from the beginning of the issue or idea. You must risk learning only a little before you can successfully learn a great deal. There is no 3-hour seminar which will make you competent to practice law or medicine, a 3-hour presentation can effectively help you learn more than you knew before. Thus, you can more reasonably and intelligently engage in a useful professional legal or medical consultation.If “ignorance is bliss,” then ignorance can also become very dangerous and expensive. Adult education is a great modern remedy for ignorance. It has been said that once one stops learning and thinking, one has effectively “died” intellectually. Adult education is a great preventative measure for an intellectual “premature death.” Everyone can do this. And it can be (in fact, it should be!) very enjoyable, even down right fun!Adult education opportunities are offered by schools and school districts, colleges and universities, professions and industries, and by private adult education companies. Some are free of charge and some cost a moderate tuition. A quality adult education presentation is always worth much more than it’s price. Search the web for “adult education” and similar key words and phrases, and you’ll likely find a whole host of opportunities to live intelligently and insightfully.

Adult Day Care – Services and Facilities For the Elderly

Centers for adult day care focus on providing elder care and companionship for senior citizens who require monitoring or assistance during the day. This can help family members or others caring for the elderly to be able to go to work, run errands, or have some personal time with the assurance that the senior citizen is being cared for and is safe. This program aims to delay or prevent the necessity of moving to a nursing home by offering alternative care, enhancing self-esteem, and setting up opportunities for socialization.Types of Adult Care FacilitiesTwo types of day care exist. One type is called adult social day care, and it offers senior citizens social activities, meals, recreation, and some health-related care. The other is called adult health day care, and it offers elder care with more specialized health, therapeutic, and social services for senior citizens with severe medical disorders and disabilities and those more prone to requiring care in a nursing home.Senior citizens who take part in these programs usually do so on a scheduled basis. Following is a list of some services offered in adult care centers:

Counseling
Education
Evening care
Recreation
Health screening
Meals
Medical care
Physical therapy
Exercise
Socialization
Supervision
Respite care
Transportation
Medical management Adult day care centers are generally open during normal business hours. They may stand alone or be a branch of senior centers, nursing homes, home health care agencies, religious institutions, hospitals, or schools. Those providing the elder care may monitor medications, provide meals and snacks, perform therapy, set up social activities, and organize transportation to and from the center.Is Adult Day Care the Right Choice for Our Family?If you are wondering whether you or a family member can benefit from adult day care, the following case study might answer some of your questions. Paul is a 69-year-old man who has had a stroke. He moves in with his son, David, and daughter-in-law, Kira, for supervision and support, but since they both work, Paul needs a different type of care during the day. Their solution is for Kira to take Paul to an adult day care center in the morning and for David to pick him up after work. The center is able to monitor Paul’s medications and provides lunch, some physical therapy, and social activities with other senior citizens while David and Kira are at work.Adult Day Care Facilities: Choosing the Right FacilityWhen searching for the right adult day care center for you or your loved one, it’s important to note that there may be vast differences among centers, so you may want to find out about each center near you. Visiting the centers and talking those providing the elder care and other families who take part in this program may help you determine whether a certain facility meets your needs.Another important factor to consider is cost, which can range from $25 to $100 per day depending on factors like which services are included, where the center is located, and the type of reimbursement. These costs are generally not covered by Medicare, but some financial assistance may be available through federal or state programs such as Medicaid, the Older Americans Act, and the Veterans Administration.Contacting your local aging information and assistance provider or area agency on aging can provide you with listings and information of specific centers located near you. The Eldercare Locator (www.eldercare.gov) can help you connect to these agencies. This is also a helpful website to peruse if you’re considering assistive technology as an option. Some area agencies can assist senior citizens and those involved in their elder care with finding and buying low-cost assistive technology, as can local civic groups, religious and veterans’ organizations, and senior centers.If you’re looking for general information about adult day care and its programs, the National Adult Day Services Association can link you to a state adult day care association. You can reach this service at http://www.nadsa.org.