As a family caregiver, you have lots of opportunities to talk to your parent. Sometimes, though, talking to elderly people can be difficult because of age-related changes, like hearing loss and cognitive decline. If you find yourself sometimes feeling frustrated after trying to have a conversation with your parent, rather than focusing on what makes it difficult to talk to your parent, working on bettering your communication skills could be the more effective route. Below are some tips to make communicating with your parent easier and more effective.
It’s not always easy to be patient when you’re a family caregiver. You’ve got a lot on your plate and you’re probably pressed for time. However, your parent may need some extra time to put thoughts together and get their point across. Or, they may want to spend more time talking to you because they’re lonely. Be compassionate and try to put yourself in your parent’s shoes. Psychology Today suggests that when you feel frustrated by something taking too long, try finishing one of these sentences: “It must not be easy…” or “It must be hard…” So, if you’re antsy when your parent is telling you a long story and you have places to be, think to yourself, “It must not be easy being alone for most of the day.”
Consider Hearing Loss
If your parent has hearing loss, having a conversation can be very difficult. Background noises like the television or radio can make it even harder for your parent to hear. These background noises may cause your parent to miss an important part of the conversation. Sitting face to face can also make it easier for your parent to hear you. Your parent may find it easier to understand what you are saying if they can read your lips as you talk. Speak slowly and clearly.
Be a Good Listener
One of the keys to good communication is being a good listener. If you don’t make an effort to listen when your parent is talking, you may miss information that could be important to you as a caregiver. You may miss clues about a health problem or your parent’s emotional state. Pay attention to what your parent says and to their body language.
Give Your Parent Choices
When you’re in a hurry, it can be easy to slip into ordering your parent around to keep things moving. For example, if you stop in to prepare lunch for your parent during your lunch break at work, you might be tempted to order your parent to “sit down” and “eat your sandwich.” Instead of issuing orders, speak in requests and give your parent some choices. For example, “Mom, would you like a sandwich or a salad today?” and “Mom, could you please sit at the table while I get your lunch?” will work better than making demands.
Since June is Effective Communications Month, why not take the time to really pay attention to how you communicate with your parent? Look for areas where you could use some improvement, and take the time to appreciate the things you’re already doing well!
If you or a family member are in need of a professional caregiver in Plantation, FL, call the caring professionals at Star Multi Care today at (954) 870-4770. Providing service in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Weston, Southwest Ranches, Pembroke Pines, Cooper City, Lighthouse Point, and Wilton Manors.