University of Wisconsin–Madison



The purpose of this assignment is to: a) provide an opportunity to practice evidence based communication skills for communicating with older adults; and b) enrich understanding of course content via a face-to-face interview with a selected elder.

The Task:

1. Select a topic relevant to the course objectives. Examples include:

* experience of growing older and living with chronic physical or psychological challenges

* effect of mental health issues on family caregivers, how they cope and what do they need

* experience with seeking and receiving mental health treatment

* factors contributing to psychological well-being in later life

* experience with loss and bereavement in later life

2. Review course readings on the topic as relevant

3. Review Learn at UW documents relevant to communication including

* Handout on “Communication Skills” (by Instructor)

* Recommended reading “GSA-Evidence based Review of What Works for Communicating with Older Adults.”

4. Develop a list of “open-ended” questions that would allow you to carefully explore the selected topic.

5. Identify a person who is at least 60 years of age and willing to be interviewed.

6. Before beginning the interview, make a copy of the attached consent form. Review the form with the elder carefully explaining the purpose of the interview. One copy of the consent form is for your informant; keep the other copy and attach it to the back of your paper.

7. Conduct the interview, giving special attention to the course materials on communication skills.

In a 5 to 7 page typed and double-spaced paper using APA format to cite your references, use the following headings:

a. Topic Chosen: Include: The course topic you chose to explore along with your rationale.

b. Brief Description of Elder: Include: Concise background info on elder including any demographic info you have (e.g., 89 year old white female), including how you know him/her.

c. Concise Summary & Synthesis. Include: Brief summary regarding what you learned during this interview, how it relates to course content or related literature, the implications for assessment or intervention, and how it expanded your understanding of this topic. This synthesis should include references to the academic literature and/or course content.

d. Communication Skills Reflection: Include: Brief description and critique of your use of the specific communication skills and approaches you employed referencing the course materials on communicating with older adults.

e. Attach to your report the following: References (citing relevant literature and course materials), Consent form, & Appendix (listing the open-ended questions you explored in your interview):