Communicating with your aging loved one may be difficult at times for multiple reasons. However it is important to try your best to maintain healthy and frequent communication with your loved one.
Sometimes communication with your loved one can lead to stress and frustration, especially if they are having problems with their hearing, or if you are prone to having disagreements. If you are able to communicate effectively, you can potentially avoid unnecessary tension and conflict.
AgingCare has provided a list of ways you can engage in constructive communication with your loved one.
Don’t give advice unless it’s asked for
It is common in caregiving for a parent-child role reversal to take place, which can leave your parent feeling useless. Parents will be used to giving advice to their children rather than taking it. Instead of giving advice, try giving your loved one encouragement and support.
Listen to what your elderly parent is saying
Conversations are a two-way street, so listen and show genuine interest in what your loved one is saying. This allows for better conversations, and a chance for you and your parent to find common ground you may never know existed.
Accept differences of opinion
It is okay for you to disagree with your loved one. It is how you handle the disagreement that will affect your relationship. Respect their opinions and try to compromise if there is a decision to be made.
Try to take an outside perspective on the matter and view the points from an unbiased position. Consider that they have more years of experience and wisdom to offer before being patronising, as this could lead to an argument.
Consider their situation
It can be difficult to accept that you may be suffering from hearing loss. Try to speak in a clear and calm tone when speaking to your loved one if they have hearing difficulties, and remember that it must be very hard for them.
Try to avoid areas with lots of competing noise or distractions. Do not shout or be condescending if they ask you to repeat yourself, but try and make your sentences short and simple to keep the conversation flowing.
Pick your battles
Your loved one may be facing a number of challenges as they age. Try to prioritise any concerns you wish to discuss with them, as confronting every issue at once can be overwhelming.
Laugh when you can
It is important to share a laugh with your family. Humorous moments can arise out of nowhere, and those are the most cherished moments one can have with their loved ones. Laughter can help bring levity to a serious situation, and pave the way for more enjoyable conversations.
Never forget that at the end of the day, family is forever, so it is worth putting in the time and effort to have more memorable experiences. If you are able to facilitate efficient communication between you and your loved one, then you can have a healthy relationship with less stress, conflict, and disagreement.
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