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Are You Well Versed?

Excerpt from Daily Cures, Wisdom for Healthy Aging by Connie Mason Michaelis

One of the obvious issues with communication occurs when the speaker is talking over the audience’s head. In other words, the person speaking is assuming that his audience, whether one person or a room full, understands his fundamental topic. For example, you listen (or read) information about Medicare, which I seem to be doing a lot of lately, references are made concerning part A, B, and D, the costs entailed and services rendered. If you are Medicare alphabetically challenged, you are lost before the conversation begins. The dilemma originates when the speaker assumes something about his or her audience that is unreliable. The listener is simply not well-versed on the topic. Every industry has its own set of acronyms and idioms. In the world of senior care, we have plenty: AL, IL, HH, CCRC, LTC, skilled care, post-acute, sub-acute to name a few. Are you confused?

People approach me and ask questions about their choices for retirement living or an inquiry about a family member. I have learned the hard way that I must start with the basics to make sure we are on the same page. No one likes to appear ignorant, but the general public is not well versed on these topics. And why should they be? Who wants to get instruction on an issue that they’re trying to avoid? But nonetheless, it can be a critically important education. If you don’t know the Medicare payment regulations, you might miss a significant benefit. If you don’t know about levels of care you may pay for services you don’t need. It is essential to have a trusted consultant who can speak to your level of understanding and give you enough new information to make your own decision. Get your education before you need it.

"Education is the progressive discovery of your ignorance." William Durant

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