Honesty is always the best policy, right? However, there are times when some truths are better left unsaid or at least worded more positively, particularly when communicating with aging loved ones. Although we might have the very best of intentions in attempting to help aging parents and other older adults navigate life, we are able to help alleviate problems with hurt feelings in our loved ones by rethinking statements like the following:
- Don’t you remember…? Short-term loss of memory is actually quite common in older adults, and pointing it out so candidly can be belittling. Instead, try non-verbal techniques to help jog your loved one’s memory, such as strategically placing positive reminder notes at home, like on the refrigerator, bathroom mirror, TV remote, etc. If a verbal reminder would still be helpful, make sure you try to keep your tone light; and ask if the senior would like someone to assist, such as in making a medical appointment on her behalf or getting a prescription.
- You’re simply not trying hard enough. The fact is, many older adults develop physical or cognitive impairments that make once-simple tasks extremely difficult. It’s equally important never to take control over tasks the individual may still be able to do, but that may take a bit longer to manage. Offering to act as a partner in accomplishing a difficult task may also be effective, like asking the senior to take care of part of the task as you tackle another part of the task.
- I know; you already told me. It can be frustrating to hear stories you have already heard before from a senior loved one, but it’s important to be patient and offer the older adult the respect you would want if the tables were turned.
- When you die, am I able to have…? No one really wants to feel as if their possessions are of such value that somebody cannot wait to get their hands on them. In the event that the senior doesn’t have a will set up that outlines his or her wishes, it is certainly a smart idea to have that looked after, but permit the person the freedom to choose to whom his or her belongings should be given.
- Wake up! Let go of any embarrassment you might have regarding your senior loved one dropping off to sleep at inappropriate times, like during a movie, a religious service, or a concert. Altered sleep patterns, prescription medication side effects, among other factors, makes it difficult for some older adults to sleep well at night time.
To get more effective communication ideas to help aging parents and other senior loved ones retain the dignity they deserve, contact us today at (404) 228-0103 to learn more about our services for home care in Atlanta, GA.