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Bacon & Coffee As Communication Tools

Oct 4, 2017 | Comments Off on Bacon & Coffee As Communication Tools

“I received a comment from Ani that this image wouldn’t work for Muslims or Jews so I asked her to think of an image, and she came up with coffee, so I’m updating this blog to reflect her participation Thanks, Ani!”

The best caregivers I’ve found are those who can communicate with and without words. Empathy, intuition and a good understanding of what makes each person light up in joy should be in every job description for those working in this world. And I think bacon may be one of the best communication tools out there. Someone may no longer understand “Are you ready for breakfast?” But one big inhale in a room filled with the glorious smell of bacon frying tells them all they need to know.

Sales Gurus say that to win business, we must first understand who we are talking to and communicate in the same way people are talking, so there is comprehension.

Speak slowly to a slow speaker.
Speed it up with a rapid-fire talker.

Selling to the five generations now in the workplace requires an understanding that The Traditionalist does business very differently than the Baby Boomer. And Gen Xers, Millennials and Gen Zs (did you know there was a Generation Z?!) all have styles that must be adhered to if you want to communicate with them effectively.

Make a note of who wants a formal letter, who likes a phone call, who prefers an email and who just wants to be left alone!

Stories connect us to each other so understanding our communication types helps convey our stories:

Analytics ~ focus on facts and are motivated by respect and getting things done.
Amiables ~ are driven by approval and want to know “Why” they are doing things.
Drivers ~ pay attention to outcomes and control.
Expressives ~ concentrate on “Who” is involved and are motivated by recognition.

Do you know someone who has Alzheimer’s or Dementia?

Their communication is a very different thing because their brains are shrinking due to this terrible disease. A typical brain weighs about three pounds. At the end of life for a person who has these diseases, the brain may weigh only a pound.

Here are some thoughts that can help the patient who has Alzheimer’s or Dementia communicate and tell their story.

These strategies can also help the general public.

    1. In Mild dementia (the early stage), people can convey their thoughts and feelings through language.They can make decisions about their care, may misinterpret what others say, may take longer to speak or respond and may have difficulty finding the right words. Many withdraw from conversations and struggle with decision-making or problem-solving.
      • Ask if you can help with their communication: “Should I help you find a word
        or would you rather I wait to see if it comes to you?”
      • Keep sentences clear and straightforward.
      • Leave plenty of time for conversations.
      • Include the person in the conversations that affect him or her, including planning for the future.


    1. In Moderate dementia (the middle stage), communication changes to basic language in words and sentences as they struggle to convey their thoughts.Some may quickly lose their train of thought and rely more heavily on tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language (easier to communicate in behavior than in words).
      • Provide visual cues and gestures.
      • Avoid sudden movement.
      • Write things down for the person.
      • Put answers into questions, “Do you want to take your bath before or after your snack?” Either way, a bath is an answer.
      • Repeat as needed, you know you answered it ten times, but they don’t remember asking it ten times.
      • Turn negatives into positives.
      • Avoid quizzing – who likes tests?


  1. In Severe dementia (the late stage), people respond to familiar words, phrases or songs but they mostly use body language and their five senses to connect instead of using or understanding words.
    • Listen for expressions of pain and respond promptly.
    • Help the person feel safe and happy.
    • Continue to bring respect to each conversation.
    • Keep talking.
    • Use all five senses to communicate.

So the best salespeople are the ones who don’t talk.
They listen, observe and sense the feelings of the other person in the conversation.

Look at a person face to face and into their eyes.
Touch them on the shoulder, extend a handshake or hug when appropriate.
Listen to what people are saying, even if we can’t understand it and just keep smiling.

Because in life, we are selling our words, thoughts, behaviors, and stories. People respond first in their heart and then the brain so smelling the bacon is a robust communication tool. Can you think of others?

Adrienne Miller is the Chief Care Officer for Forever Care Services, LLC, an Eldercare Housing Referral Service in the greater Seattle area providing guidance and assistance in finding and securing housing for seniors in Adult Family Homes, Assisted Living and Memory Care communities.

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