As your senior’s caregiver you’re making a lot of decisions for her, but you still need to listen to her needs and her wants. If you and she are having difficulty communicating, it might be that you need to adjust how you’re listening to what she has to say. When you make those adjustments, you might be surprised to see your senior’s attitude and responses shift a bit.
Use as Much Empathy as You Can
Putting yourself in your senior’s shoes is crucial for this entire process. You already know exactly how you feel, but you need to be aware of how your senior is feeling, too. When you have a better understanding of her side of the equation, it might be easier for you to fully listen to what she’s telling you about her experience.
Practice Active Listening Rather than Passive Listening
Passive listening involves just taking in what your senior is telling you. Often people who are passively listening are actively doing something else, like waiting for their own chance to speak. This style of listening can get you in trouble a little bit. Active listening involves being a lot more attentive to the conversation. Eye contact, repeating and rephrasing what’s being said, and consistently testing understanding is all part of being a more active listener. It also encourages your senior to share.
Make Sure Your Senior Has the Game Plan
If you’re working out a plan with your senior, it helps to make sure she fully understands where everything is headed. This is another part of helping her to understand that you care what she has to say and that you do want her input. When you leave her out of these plans, no matter where you are in the process, she can feel “unheard” and start to feel like you don’t care what she has to say.
Look for Other Solutions if You’re Still Having Communication Issues
If you and your senior are still having trouble communicating with each other, you may want to look for some other solutions. Taking a break from heavy conversations can help, as can simply reminding your senior that you’re concerned about her health and well-being, on multiple levels. Sometimes, though, those communication issues can be something you’ve had for a while. Talking to a therapist together might help.
Communicating is about equal parts expressing what you need to express and listening as well as you possibly can.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Senior Care in Deer Park, WA please contact the caring staff at Angel Senior Care today at (509) 326-4357.