A major part of caring for our elderly parents or loved ones is being able to effectively communicate with them. Every aspect of caregiving depends on understanding and being understood. Unfortunately, as seniors age, they may have to deal with physical and/or mental problems that make talking with them difficult. Some medications they take can also affect their ability to comprehend what is being said. There are things you can do to keep the lines of communication between you and your loved one open.
First address the problems that can be fixed. If your loved one has a problem with their hearing or speech, a trip to the doctor is in order. Once the physical issues are resolved, you can work on your communication skills.
Make sure you speak clearly and distinctly and maintain eye contact when you talk so you can gauge their response to your words. If your loved one has the beginnings of dementia, speak at a slower rate. Don’t let your tone of voice sound condescending – you’re not talking to a child. Avoid any background interference and noise like the radio or television. Talk face to face. Many seniors with diminished hearing are actually lip reading.
Pay attention to what your loved one is actually saying and be a patient listener. Don’t give in to the urge to fill in the blanks when your loved one can’t find a certain word. Don’t interrupt – let your loved one speak at their own rate. If you have a difference of opinion, accept that difference and go on. When speaking, don’t talk in generalities. Make simple specific statements dealing with one idea at a time. Keep your sentences short.
Your ultimate goal is to keep the lines of communication open and retain a respectful attitude with your loved one. What has worked for you when dealing with the challenge of communicating with a senior? Share below and visit us at http://www.trilliumhomecare.com