Communicating with an elderly relative is often very different from communicating with a younger person. If you go about it the wrong way, it can become a frustrating experience for both of you.
So how should you go about successfully communicating with an elderly relative? Here are some top tips to help you.
It’s easy to become impatient when speaking to an elderly person, but try to imagine what it is like for them. They may not be able to hear clearly or they may be struggling to adapt to changes in their lifestyle. This can make it frustrating for them too.
Try to be understanding of their situation, and be patient when speaking to them. Don’t show your frustration as it can make things worse.
If you find it too difficult, it may be worth looking into hiring a carer from an agency like Care24Seven. A professional can help you out and take the pressure off, and you may also learn tips from them on how to communicate more effectively.
Don’t dismiss what your elderly relative is saying because this will only suggest that you don’t care. Listen to them carefully and don’t interrupt them.
Sometimes they may pause for long periods, but don’t constantly try to fill these periods. Listening carefully is a sign of respect, so understand that they may take slightly longer to formulate a response.
When you speak, make an effort to speak slowly and pronounce your words clearly. That doesn’t mean you have to shout, though sometimes it can be tempting to do so if they cannot hear very well.
Avoid mumbling, and try to stay focused on one idea at a time to keep things simple. Ask clear and simple questions, preferably with yes or no answers, and repeat yourself where necessary.
If your elderly relative is particularly hard of hearing, incorporate visual aids into your conversation. Use your hands to indicate what you are talking about, and be expressive to help get your point across.
It’s also about choosing the best environment to talk in. If the television is loud, this will make it harder to hold a conversation. Try to find a quiet place where there is space for you both to sit, and face your relative so they can see your expressions.
Smile as you talk to them, and show that you are enjoying their company. Laugh together and you may genuinely start to enjoy it more. Make your conversations into a pleasant moment for both of you.
Talking to an elderly relative can be frustrating at times, but you can make it easier on yourself and your relative by following these simple tips. Try not to let frustration get to you because this can affect your relationship with them. There is a lot to enjoy about talking to elderly people, so try to make the effort, and make the experience a positive one for both of you.