HAVING THAT SERIOUS TALK WITH LOVED ONES
Over time an issue in dealing with an elderly loved one is how to compassionately talk with mom, dad, aunt or family member who exhibits the denial of declining health. This was a major area for me to handle during my family caregiving experiences so I included several suggestions and techniques for you to use in Stepping Up: A Companion and Guide to Family Caregivers.
THESE ARE SOME techniques to use when communicating with elderly parents or family members:
• _Be aware and sensitive to how you respond when talking to an aging or cognitively-challenged person. Sometimes, they can’t find the words to say what they want to say or it takes them longer to find them.
• _Know that the older person usually understands and is aware of far more than they can say in words.
• _Create a comfortable environment to have conversations.
• _Smile and touch them as you talk.
• _Make a guess at what their response might be and see if they shake their heads in the affirmative that may say, “That’s right.”
• _Use a normal speaking voice and talk slowly if you are a fast talker.
• _Try changing the pitch of your voice (low or high) if you think there’s a hearing problem not addressed.
• _Display positive body language—eye contact, good posture, and a smile.
• _Restate your message concisely and straightforward.
• _Be patient.
Try these 10 techniques for now and the next post will offer 10 more techniques for successfully talking with your loved ones. These and many other tactics, tips and ideas on this subject and other basic tasks all family caregivers will perform are offered in Stepping Up: A Companion and Guide for Family Caregivers. To order your personal copy of Stepping Up click here.