When talking to the elderly, look them in the eye. We all know that looking in the eye when talking to someone is a sign of respect. That is a general rule and that has always been and forever will be. An honest person will never be afraid to look you in the eye and it is also a sign of a genuine interest in the person you are conversing with.
Do not use or maybe you could turn off you mobile devices, more often than not they do not understand these things and they will feel destructed by it and worse will feel like they are playing second fiddle to a piece of equipment that can lead to them to shut down and lose interest in talking to you.
Always be respectful, this applies to everyone. You might confuse this with being sweet and condescending but these two are different from respect. Listen to them, or maybe if fitting you can place your hand on their hand or arm. Remember, they are your elderly and not your children so never call them names like, ‘sweetie’, ‘honey’, or ‘darling’, that will be rude!
Never ever shout at them, if they have troubles hearing you or the surrounding get them hearing aide. They may pull away from communicating with anyone and even become bitter if this is taken for granted. And they may not admit this so it is up to you to notice if they cannot hear properly anymore or have them checked regularly.
Never make them feel that being there for them is a duty for you, make time for them and understand if they are feeling lonely. You must make them feel that you truly care and you really want to be there for them. Make the conversation and the whole time enjoyable. Ask questions and make them feel that you are interested, maybe their past lives and stories when they are younger and their husbands or wives. Talk about happy memories. You will find yourself learning a lot from them.
Ask them advice; this will make them feel they still have worth because they may be feeling worthless by this age of time. Remember to input into things and be genuine about it, maybe you can word it like "I really need your advice" vs "I wanted to ask your advice" can make a big mental difference for ANYONE.