Making Communication an Important Tool in Your Caregiver Toolbox

Caregiver Canandaigua NY

Caregiver Canandaigua NY

Throughout your journey as a caregiver you will develop skills and techniques that you can use to improve your care efforts as well as your relationship with your elderly loved one. While there are many of these “tools” that you put in your caregiver “toolbox”, one of the most important that is often overlooked is communication. Good communication is how you are able to interact with the world around you, express needs, give instructions, make connections, and manage situations. When you are facing the challenges of caregiving, however, you may find that it becomes more difficult to communicate effectively. This is when it is most important to reach into your toolbox and take out your communication skills so that you can protect and preserve your relationship and your care efforts.

When you are in a situation that requires good communication with your elderly parent, use these skills to communicate effectively and with meaning:  

  • Establish an environment of good communication. Good communication does not just happen. You must make an effort to make it happen. That starts with ensuring that the circumstances are designed to promote good communication. Evaluate yourself to determine if your wellbeing is at a place that will allow you to express yourself effectively. Determine if you are in control of your emotions, feeling secure, and know what it is that you want to talk about. If at all possible, eliminate as many distractions as you can from the environment. This means turn off the television and the radio, put aside your phone, do not cook, clean, or do anything else. Instead, position yourself so that you are engaged with your parent and ready to communicate.
  • Be clear. Especially when you are communicating with an elderly adult, being clear is essential. Do not beat around the bush or try to be eloquent just for the sake of sounding good. Good communication is clear, straightforward communication and that starts with choosing your words carefully. Do not talk down to your parent or “dumb down” what you are saying. Instead, make sure that what you are saying is clear and exactly relays what it is that you want to say. Focus on “I” statements so that you can express what you are thinking and feeling rather than discussing the motivations of or putting the blame on others.
  • Open yourself. Communicating is not just saying what you want to say and having it be done. You must also be open and willing to receive what your parent wants to say. Open yourself and be accepting of their thoughts, opinions, and feelings. Remind yourself that they listened to what you had to say and that you owe it to them to listen to them. Avoid the temptation to start planning what you are going to say next or to cut them off as soon as you disagree with them. Give them the space and respect to express themselves fully and then follow up with whatever else you may be thinking.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Caregiver Services in Canandaigua NY, contact the caring staff at Caring Hearts of Rochester today! Serving Rochester, Pittsford, Greece, Webster, Canandaigua, Fairport, Perinton, Penfield, Brighton, Henrietta and surrounding communities. Call 585-245-0134.