When you care for an elderly family member, you may notice that communication is lagging, or it can be halted altogether. You and your loved one may have different communication styles, or your senior may have a disability or chronic illness that keeps them from communicating like they used to. There are tips for you and respite care providers who may help with your loved one.
Here is some of the best advice to help communicate with your seniors and make it easier.
You and Respite Care Aides Should Always Be Patient
When you’re in a rush to do something or in a rush to communicate something, you may feel impatient or like your senior is taking too long to respond. However, it is crucial to remain patient when trying to communicate something important. Respite care is trained to be patient, and they may have an easier time slowing down and waiting for your loved one, but this can be a challenge for you. Ensure you keep on topic and only choose one topic at a time so they can stay focused on what you’re saying. You may be tempted to talk about multiple things at once, but this can lead to major confusion when communicating, and they may mix up the details of what you’re saying. So, take it slow and be patient. If they don’t understand something, take the time to explain it to them.
Always Ask Questions and Allow Them to Ask Questions
If you have a hard time understanding your loved one, ask them simple questions until you do understand them. On the other hand, your loved one may not understand you, and they should be able to ask you questions without getting you getting frustrated or annoyed with them. Questions help you both understand each other, and it keeps a conversation going, which is important for a senior to have. The more you guys talk and understand each other, the better your communication will be.
Don’t Talk Down To Them
One of the worst things you can do is talk down to them or talk to them like they are your child. You need to remember that you are still their child, although an adult, and they are still independent even if they have help from elder care. Talking down or talking condescendingly will not get them to open up to you and may shut down communication altogether.
Always Turn Off Distractions and Laugh With Your Senior
If the radio or TV is on or your senior is listening to an audiobook, it is not the best time to try to talk to them. Too many distractions will surround your loved one, and they may not pick up what you’re trying to tell them. Always ensure that other things are off, even if it’s just music. This will help you understand each other, and your senior will know what is happening. Also, ensure you’re facing them when you speak to them; this will help limit distractions even further.
It’s important to joke around and have a laugh with your seniors. This will help you both lighten the mood and feel connected when you can laugh together. But, don’t take things too seriously; make sure you have fun with your loved one.