The purpose of this study was to examine verbal communication interactions between nursing staff and the elderly residents in a long-term care facility. Three groups of elderly were studied and compared. These were immigrant, Canadian-born, and Anglo-born elderly. Non-participant observation and tape recordings were the methods by which data were collected. Findings were transcribed and quantified under headings of ‘words spoken’, ‘commands given’, ‘statements made’, and ‘questions asked and answered’. Significant differences in the observed interaction were found between groups. The findings indicate the need for nurses to be aware of the implications of ethnicity in caring for the elderly, and also for further communication studies in this area.