Improving Communication with Aging Parents.
Methods of Approach.
Mary Alexander: Hi! I am Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care. Today, I am discussing tips for effective communication with seniors. Now, I want to provide a few methods of approach.
There are number of issues to keep in mind when talking with senior loved ones. Being cognizant about your approach and speaking methods will go a long way towards successful communication.
For instance, when talking with seniors about difficult topics, it's important to always try to move toward solutions that provide the maximum amount of independence for the elder person. Look for answers that optimize strengths and their desires. For example, if your loved one needs help at home, look for tools that can help them to maintain their independence.
Professional care giving services provide assistance in a number of areas including meal preparation, light housekeeping, and medication reminders. Another important approach in toward main respectful and not be patronizing. Remember, you're talking to an adult not a child. Patronizing speech or babytalk will put older adults on the defensive and conveys a lock of respect for them.
Also, try and avoid a bossy or dismissive tone. An easy solution is to put yourself in your parents' shoes and think of how you would want to be addressed in that situation. Also, try to remember not everything has to be solved right away. If your parents become angry, drop the subject and return to it another day.
If there is continual disagreement, don't force the issue. As long as your parents are fully functionally adults, you can't force them to follow your advice, no matter how right you think your advice is.
Another communication method from talk-early-talk-often.
com is called TEMPO which stands for Timing, Experience, Motivation, Place, Outcome. First time your conversations appropriately. Make sure your parents have time to talk and aren't distracted by meeting to an appointment or wanting to watch their favourite program.
Also, make sure you have time to listen. Don't start an important conversation, if you need to walk out the door in the next five minutes. Talking to elderly parents requires an investment of time and patience.
Experience, often you can open the door to talk to elderly parents by tying your specific topics to direct experience. If you just finished updating your will, ask your parents when the last time was they looked at theirs. Or if your friends father just had a heart attack and it took a long time before the hospital could notify him, ask your parents if you can a look at how there emergency information is organized. Or if family members are whispering that they refused to ride with your parents anymore, tell them you are concerned about how they are doing with their driving.
Motivation. Be clear about your own motives for asking to have a conversation. If you are annoyed, frustrated, or angry, it's definitely not the right time to engage in an important conversation about the future. Your motivation also needs to be solely for the safety, wellbeing, and quality of life for both of your parents and you.
Place. Be sure to create a safe place to have an important conversation. In other words, the holiday dinner table in not the place to talk to your elderly parents about sensitive issues. Maybe you need to be outside the house at a nice quite restaurant to talk about issues related to the house or where they want to live in the future. A safe place could also be a family member or friend who your parent is particularly comfortable and relaxed with.
If so, be sure to include that person in the conversation. Here the reverse is also true. If there is a relative that causes special agitation or frustration for your parent, they should not be present.
Outcome. What you are trying to establish is an ongoing honest conversation about everything related to your parents' future. You don't need to try to get the answers you want today. What you are doing is laying the groundwork to understand your parents' feelings, wishes, and needs.
The goals are to get and share information, trust that it will happen bit by bit over time. So to recap TEMPO stands for Timing, Experience, Motivation, Place, and Outcome. If you work to make all five of these items comfortable and positive for you senior loved ones, you are bound to have success.
Not that we've given you some methods for approaching and talking about difficult subjects, we are next going to discuss some communication barriers and how to overcome them.