Caregivers Listen Up Part I


by Joy Loverde

caringforeldelry, eldercareI recently wrote a blog titled, “Do you hear what I hear,” in response to the many family members who are in the process of caring for elderly parents. Senior care also means talking on a regular basis about sensitive subjects, and the care of elderly parents always has the potential for communication break downs. There isn’t a family caregiver alive who has not experienced how truly difficult it is to communicate with aging parents during elder care situations.  Caregivers explain to me their frustrations of trying to hold a conversation with aging parents who don’t listen nor show signs of wanting to participate in two-way conversations.

As an elder care consultant, I, too have experienced the very same communication issues during the elder care process, and consequently is one of the main reasons why I wrote the elder care book, The Complete Eldercare Planner. While the onset of elder care issues is usually sparked over a health care event, how people talk to each other about the situation at hand will make all the difference in the world regarding what happens next.

Many of the problems that surface in the process of senior care have to do with the fact that those who are caring for elderly parents and those who are on the receiving end of the care may not know how to get through to the other – especially when emotions get the best of them. At the forefront of family eldercare problems people tend to talk AT each other and not WITH each other. As a result communication breakdowns happen and everybody gets mad and frustrated and throws up their hands in disgust.

Someone (the family caregiver or the aging parent) has to stop the vicious cycle of wanting to be the one who is heard otherwise conversations will go nowhere. I am suggesting that person might as well be you. What do you have to lose? You will eventually be heard but maybe not immediately. Are you willing to do what it takes to make that happen? When you make the decision to stop talking and listen, really listen to what your parents are trying to tell you then maybe you can finally get somewhere during your conversations.   Join me next time to read my elder care tips on how you can and your aging parents can keep the lines of communication open when you apply simple listening techniques.

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