Commonly used Japanese phrases when conversing with elderly patients in the course of your care work

Commonly used Japanese phrases when conversing with elderly patients in the course of your care work

If you are familiar with commonly used phrases, you will find it easier to communicate with elderly patients and promptly notice changes in their physical condition. It will also help you when you are working with other personnel.


Phrases used when you are greeting an elderly patient

  • 「失礼します」(しつれいします) (Shitsurei shimasu) (Excuse me)
  • 「失礼しました」(しつれいしました) (Shitsurei shimashita) (Excuse me – past tense)

Use this phrase when you are entering or leaving a patient’s room, and also before and after you care for them.

Particularly, patients’ rooms are their private spaces, so make sure that you greet them before entering or leaving.


  • 「昨日はよく眠れましたか?」(きのうはよくねむれましたか?) (Kinou wa yoku nemuremashita ka?) (Did you sleep well last night?)
  • 「体調、お変わりありませんか?」(たいちょう、おかわりありませんか?) (Taicho, okawariarimasen ka?) (Is there any change in your physical condition?)

You can check on changes in patients’ physical condition with this phrase.


  • 「〜していただけますか?」(〜していただけますか?) (〜shite itadakemasu ka?) (Can I help you with ~?)
  • 「〜は手伝いますので、〜はご自分でしていただけますか?」(〜はてつだいますので、〜はごじぶんでしていただけますか?)(~ wa tetsudaimasu no de, ~ wa gojibun de shite itadakemasu ka?) (I will help you with ~, so can you do ~ on your own?)

It is important to only do things that you can do. If care workers end up doing everything, there will be less for patients to do.


「手が届くところはご自分で洗っていただけますか?届かないところは手伝いますね。」(てがとどくところはごじぶんであらっていただけますか?とどかないところはてつだいますね。)(Te ga todoku tokoro wa gojibun de aratte itadakemasu ka? Todokanai tokoro wa tetsudaimasu ne.)(Can you clean the places where you can reach on your own? I will help you with the places you can’t reach.)

「後ろから支えますので、立ち上がっていただけますか?」(うしろからささえますので、たちあがっていただけますか?)(Ushiro kara sasaemasu no de, tachiagatte itadakemasu ka?)(Can you stand up? I will support you from behind.)

「上着を脱いでいただけますか?」(うわぎをぬいでいただけますか?)(Uwagi wo nuide itadakemasu ka?)(Can you take off your outer wear?)


  • 「なにかあったら、いつでも呼んでくださいね」(なにがあったら、いつでもよんでくださいね)(Nani ga attara, itsudemo yonde kudasai ne)(Please call me if you need me for anything.)

Patients will be able to live with peace of mind.


  • 「〜をしますね、よろしいですか?」 (~をしますね、よろしいですか?)(~ wo shimasu ne, yoroshii desu ka?)(Is it okay if I do ~?)

Make sure you verbally check with patients before caring for them.

You may scare them if you do something or touch them suddenly.


We usually use ‘teineigo’, or polite speech, when speaking to patients. It is a manner of speech which conveys respect to the person you are speaking to.

For example, when you are helping a patient use the toilet, the meanings conveyed by the phrases “tachiagatte kudasai” and “tachiagatte itadakemasu ka?” are the same, but the impressions they give to the person you are speaking to is different.

「立ち上がってください」(たちあがってください)(Tachiagatte kudasai.)(Please stand up.)

→ This phrase gives the impression that you are ordering or instructing someone to stand up.

「立ち上がっていただけますか?」(たちあがっていただけますか?)(Tachiagatte itadakemasu ka?)(Can you stand up?)

→ This phrase gives the impression that you are gently asking someone to stand up.

Let us keep in mind to speak in a way that conveys our respect to the elderly.