Tips for Improving Communication with Your Elderly Parent
June 6, 2018
Communication is an important skill for all people, but it can be particularly valuable for you as a family caregiver.
Being able to communicate effectively and consistently with your senior can improve the quality of care you give them, the trust they have in you as their family caregiver, and the continuation and strength of your parent-child bond. This can only help your parents to stay healthier and safer as they age in place, but can also reduce your stress and improve your outlook on your care, your relationship with your parents, and your life moving forward.
Use these tips to improve communication with your elderly parent during the course of your care journey with them:
● Make sure you are talking with your parents about things other than just their care. Keep up your personal relationship with them, and show how much you value and love them by talking about things other than their health and your care efforts for them.
● Be willing to listen as much as, if not more than you speak. Being an engaged and active listener for your parent will show them that they are valuable and important, and help them to feel a greater sense of trust and security.
● Communicate without other distractions whenever possible. When you need to talk to your parents about something important, or just want to connect with them, remove other distractions such as the TV, your phone, the computer, music, and other people as much as possible. It allows you to focus completely on the conversation you’re having with your parents.
● Be aware of your nonverbal communication as much as your verbal communication. The expression on your face, your body posture, and your hand gestures can all be expressed more to your parent than the words you choose to say. Often this can have a negative effect when your nonverbal communication expresses negativity, even if your verbal communication does not.
● If your aging parent is dealing with a health issue or challenge that makes it difficult for them to speak clearly, encourage them to find other ways to communicate and express themselves. Writing down what they want to say, making drawings, using gestures, and other forms of communication can be just as, if not more, effective than using only spoken words.
All people need social interaction, support, and to feel as though they are acknowledged and relevant.
This is a critical aspect of mental-emotional health, and can even contribute to physical health and well-being. Unfortunately, many elderly adults experience a sense of disconnection, loneliness, and isolation as they age in place. Elder care can be instrumental in reducing these feelings and helping your parent to live a more fulfilling, stimulated lifestyle as they age in place.
Companionship and emotional support are valuable to your parent whether they have mild needs and challenges, or are suffering from more extensive issues. This is only one part of how the highly personalized set of services devised by elderly home care services provider can improve your parent’s life, and also give you peace of mind that their caregiver.