Simple Ways to Improve Communication with Your Senior Parents

November 22nd, 2016 by John Wilson

Whether you are discussing the pros and cons of transitioning to a senior living arrangement, helping your parents research Oklahoma assisted living facilities, dealing with a medical crisis or simply trying to get through another day, sometimes seniors don’t want to talk or listen. We all have moments like that, but seniors are prone to shutting down altogether, which is not healthy nor productive. Next time you receive the dreaded cold shoulder, heed the following tips to improve communication with your senior parents.

Talk Less and Listen More

Good communication is listening as much as it is about talking. When dealing with seniors, listening may be more important than talking. Seniors often keep their emotions hidden. They are less apt to blurt out what is bothering them. Listen carefully for subtle hints about what could be the underlying reason for their silence. Once you pinpoint the reason, you can ask the right questions to get the conversation flowing.

Remove Distractions

One way to improve communication with your senior parents is to turn off the TV and radio when it’s time for an important conversation. Additionally, don’t have important discussions in crowded, loud restaurants or public places. Many seniors have trouble hearing. They may become frustrated and shut down when they can’t understand what you’re saying.

Find out how to improve communication with your senior parents.

Learn to improve communication with your senior parents.

Be Empathetic and Never Condescending

When you’re talking to your aging parents, be mindful of your tone of voice and mannerisms. Say, for example, you are discussing the pros and cons of a particular senior living center in Oklahoma City. You may love the facility and be tempted to, in overly dramatic fashion, talk down to them in an effort to convince them why this facility is the best option for them. Resist that urge. When you’re discussing a sensitive and emotional issue like transitioning from independent living to a senior living center in Oklahoma City, empathy is critical. If you were in your parent’s shoes, would you want to be rushed?

Don’t Offer Unsolicited Advice

Seniors often become frustrated because as they age, they lose independence. Often, they have to ask for help with simple tasks like getting dressed, preparing meals and even walking from Point A to Point B. They probably already feel beholden to you, your siblings and other caregivers. Try to avoid instructing them what to do when you’re having a conversation. Instead, be patient, supportive, encouraging and upbeat. Eventually, they will probably ask for your opinion. Until they do, keep it to yourself.

Approach Weighty Issues in a Series of Short Discussions

Face it, you are busy. You can become frustrated when you need your parent to make a decision about something and he or she procrastinates. Approach important conversations with the understanding you will probably not reach a resolution on the first attempt. Understand you’ll probably need to bring up the issue several times.

Sometimes, a third party can help when you are having trouble communicating with your aging parents. Whether you’re elderly loved one is a current or a future resident at Village at Oakwood, contact us. Our team is trained in conflict resolution and can help you open the lines of communication if they have shut down.

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