Good communication is an important aspect of your job as a Family Caregiver. You have a lot of information you need to share with your senior loved one about their care, their health needs and many other issues that may arise. There are often sensitive subjects that need to be discussed, especially if your loved one is not yet accustomed to receiving assistance or feels their independence is being compromised when they have someone in their home. Thankfully, there are ways to communicate with your loved one that will help you both stay on the same page while also allowing you to make decisions productively together.
Tools of Good Communication:
Be respectful- It is important to remember that your loved one is your equal. By asking her opinion you show that you value her input. This will make your loved one feel confident and comfortable enough to voice her concerns.
Always listen- When your loved one shares that they are struggling with walking or a medicine is causing adverse side effects, it is important to listen to their concerns. You may feel that sometimes they are merely complaints, but there is a chance those discomforts could be a sign of a more serious medical problems. Health professionals warn caregivers that acting unconcerned about issues can cause those receiving care to not speak up. Listening to your loved one is another way to show that their wellbeing is a top priority and they are active participants in their care.
Remember your main focus- If you are having a disagreement with your loved one, it is important to remember not to speak when you are angry or upset. Your job is to assist your loved one in living independently while still receiving assistant in their daily lives. This means that you must take in to account their wishes while also providing them with the safe care they need. It may help to rehearse what you need to discuss before having the actual conversation, to help you clarify the important information you need to share with your loved one. It is also important to consider what your loved one’s response will be, whether it be a change in their schedule, or an elimination of an activity they enjoy due to health risks. Come up with alternatives or options that may soften their disappointment.
Stay positive- There will be times when you and your loved one must discuss challenging topics. Your loved one is facing many changes as they become more dependent, but it is important to give them choices and opportunities to play an active role in their care. When discussing unpleasant topics, like your loved one no longer being able to drive, for example, remain upbeat and positive. Remind them that you and others are available for transportation. It is also helpful to cover the risks involved in driving so that they fully understand you are looking out for their best interest and not just taking away their independence.
These communication tips are helpful tools. Another helpful tool in your journey as a caregiver is to have a partner, which is where the professionals at Freudenthal Home Health are available. Call us today to learn of all the ways we can assist you.