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5 Ways to Improve Communication with Your Elderly Loved One

February 15th, 2016

seniors-354847_1280At BrightStar Care, we are often asked about communications issues that seem to arise when interacting with elderly loved ones. Proper providers of home care in Orlando take into consideration the physiological changes that occur as we age when analyzing how these changes affect the ability to communicate. Eyesight diminishes, hearing is lost, cognition can be altered, and the ability to write may be lost as a result of arthritis, poor sight, and cognition changes. There are some strategies that can be implemented in an effort to improved communication with your aging loved one.

 

  • Listen: Give your loved one your undivided attention. Let them finish their thoughts completely and fight the urge to jump in with an opinion, an answer, or your understanding of the situation before they have finished expressing it. Avoid external distractions. Turn off the television and remove any other background noise if possible. We all need to feel important when engaged in conversation. It’s no different for the elderly in our lives.
  • Exercise Patience: The words may not be coming as easily as they once did, so it is really important that you don’t appear to be in a hurry or act dismissively of the subject they are trying to broach. Speak clearly and slowly and engage in eye contact at all times, including when you are responding.
  • Repetition: You should get into the practice of repeating your key points to ensure understanding and help them stay on topic. This will require spending some extra time for any questions to be posed and for answers to be absorbed and acknowledged. Remember, someday you will be in the same position.
  • Opinion Differences: Accept the fact that there will be differences of opinion.
    Respect that their opinions are formed based on their life experiences much the same way that your opinions are influenced by your life experiences. Don’t engage in arguments. Just because they are older doesn’t mean that they aren’t as committed to their beliefs as you are in yours. No good can come from engaging in arguments and, in fact, can be detrimental to your relationship.
  • Role Reversal: Your parents or other elderly loved ones have always been in the position of giving advice and acting in your best interest. Now is not the time to swap positions. Providing unsolicited advice to an elderly loved one will usually not be well received and can result in turmoil for all.

 

Good communication skills with an elderly loved one can be established and maintained with acceptance of the changes that occur as we age. Home care in Orlando from BrightStar Care can provide insight and assistance in assessing the communication skills of your loved one.
Call now 407-877-0720 to find out how we can help.

Topics: Lifestyle