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Abbotts 26th Mar 2021 Social Care
Hi Everyone, I’m hoping some of you may be able to help me. I am an activities coordinator and we have a new resident joining us next week that is Latvian, she can’t speak English and I have been put to the task of working out how to communicate with her and have her engage in activities. Has anyone else came across this before and how have you got around the language barrier?
Diane 26th Mar 2021 Activity Coordinator
We had a Korean lady with us for a few months and we couldn't communicate with her. We got together as a staff and made a list of words and small phrases that her daughter translated for us. It helped a bit. The only activities of mine she came to were exercises and crafts. I had her coloring a lot as that's pretty universal. Eventually her family found her a seniors home that had other Korean's and she is much happier. Good Luck!
Susan 27th Mar 2021 Activity Director
Hi Diane
Thank you for your input
Susan 27th Mar 2021 Activity Director
Hi Abbotts
This is indeed a challenging task but Diane had some good ideas for activities I also suggest using cue cards
Here are some other articles that might help you
This one is about people with aphasia but you may be able to use some of the ideas
Hopefully her family and friends will be able to help in someway or perhaps you can get a volunteer who speaks Latvian
Solange 27th Mar 2021 Diversional Therapist
Hi Abbots, I would learn a few key phrases in Latvian like Are you thirsty/hungry? or are you in pain? Avoid speaking English with other people in front of her, if speaking; speak clearly in an even tone of voice, and use your hands if that helps communication. Regarding activities, it is important that you have a good rapport with her before inviting her to join activities. Here are a few universal prompts that could help you: Bring a puppy or a kitten to visit her (find out first if she is not allergic), colored pencils and drawings as a project, knitting needles, and a bowl of wool for a neck warmer scarf (most Latvians can crochet and knit), find out which drinks she likes and surprise her: no need to talk just smile, a shoulder massage would please most people. Good luck!

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