October 13, 2022 3 min read
As a caregiver of elderly parents, it is only natural to want to help them in any way we can, but that doesn't always mean it will be easy. As an individual grows older, communication with others may become challenging due to various reasons such as visual or hearing impairment, mobility issues, or cognitive conditions that may make it harder for them to express themselves effectively. Being empathetic and patient will go a long way to maintain healthy relationships with our elderly loved ones. Here are some tips for improving communication with elderly parents.
Check in on them more often
It is important to check in on elderly parents often, taking the opportunity to notice any changes in their health or habits and to make sure that they're getting the help they need should they require. For elderly persons who are not used to smartphones, a simple phone call can be a quick and effective way to keep in touch. Scheduling regular appointments and setting aside quality time to spend with them is especially important if you don’t live together because it lets them know that they're still in your life and their presence is important to you.
Communication is a two-way process
Sometimes, all a parent needs is someone who will listen to them without judgment or criticism, and that can go a long way towards improving communication amongst all parties. This may also entail us holding back on our opinions and learning to listen better. Try asking questions about them and their lives. How are they feeling? Is there anything they need help with or that they would like assistance with? The best way to create real connections is by learning more about them and becoming an effective listener.
At the same time, there are often things that an elderly parent might find difficult to communicate, such as pain, fears, discomfort or the fact that they might need a doctor's opinion on a medical concern. In order to help them with these matters, you will need to make them feel comfortable talking to you. Show them that you are willing to listen to what they have to say and also ask how they would like you to help.
You may feel frustrated when you want your parents to understand something that seems obvious to you, but is not apparent to them. Or he or she may get frustrated when what's obvious to them isn't getting communicated across to you. It is important that we seek first to understand their point of view and where they are coming from. Don’t give up on a conversation just because it doesn't go well at first.
If they say something strange or seem confused, try asking more questions instead of dismissing them. This can help you better understand what might be bothering them in the first place. Give them time to process their thoughts before responding to questions or requests for information; it is only by keeping communication open and understanding that they can feel comfortable telling us what they need.
Support them rather than baby them
It is easy to fall into the habit of treating your parents like little children who need your constant help and guidance. But when it comes to elderly parents, sometimes what they need most is for their adult children to treat them with respect. Remember that they are individuals too, with their own likes and dislikes, their own opinions and thoughts on things that might seem insignificant to others. While we sometimes need to remind them of what they are forgetting or have forgotten, the main goal is to come from a place of compassion and caring.
Whether you've just started caring for your parents or have been doing it for years, communication can be challenging, and that's something which can stress out any caregiver. Here at The Golden Concepts, we can help you support your loved ones and ensure that they will be in good hands with our unique range of healthcare equipment and mobility aids such as lift chairs for elderly and wheelchairs with detachable footrests. Contact us today to find out more!
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