Are you spending time with your elderly loved ones this holiday season?
This Holiday season, when spending more time with your elderly loved ones, we offer some suggestions to help the conversation and communication go a bit smoother; for both you and your loved ones.
- Allow extra time for your loved ones to talk. They may be nervous, tired or lack focus, plan for it, and do not appear rushed or uninterested. Loved ones will sense it and shut down.
- Avoid distractions. Loved ones want to feel that you want to spend quality time with them and that they are important. Give your undivided attention. Aim to give your full attention during the entire visit. Try to reduce the amount of visual (television, cell phone) and auditory(radio) distractions.
- Sit face to face. If your loved one has vision and/or hearing loss, reading your lips may be helpful for the conversation to make sense to them. Sitting in front of them may also reduce distractions. This helps send them the message that what they have to say to you, is important.
- Maintain eye contact. Eye contact is one of the most direct and powerful forms of nonverbal communication. It tells your loved ones that you are interested in them and they can trust you. Put our phone away so you aren’t looking at it; this keeps your eye contact direct.
- Listen. Listen; listen; listen and try not to interrupt. Let your loved one talk and really listen.
- Speak slowly, clearly and loudly. Make sure you are speaking clearly, slowly and loud enough. Be patient, you may have to repeat. Remember; not all of our older loved ones have hearing loss; so make sure you don’t shout.
- Stick to one topic at a time. Changing topics quickly can confuse the elderly; make sure you don’t switch topics too often or too quickly.
- Bring pictures/look at photo albums. When possible; share pictures. We all enjoy seeing pictures, be it to learn new things or remembering old stories and happy times.
- Give your loved ones an opportunity to express themselves, ask questions and share what they want to say. There may be topics we find not so interesting; however, if our loved ones bring them up, encourage conversation and let them share what they are thinking. Foster the conversation with more questions.
Call Tracy Visits to give your loved ones the GIFT of Time.
A Caring Visit When You Can’t