As they age, your elderly loved ones may find that their physical and mental capabilities begin to deteriorate. This means it can be difficult for them to maintain their independence in the same way they would like to.
Fortunately, there are ways you can help create a better relationship with your elders and make life with them more enjoyable.
Learning how to communicate effectively is one of the most important skills you can use when building a relationship with an older person.
Ways to Impact Your Elders in Positive Ways
Every day, you have the opportunity to communicate with your elders. You have the opportunity to make your elders feel valued and appreciated, whether you are talking to them on the phone, sending them an email, or visiting them in person.
Positive interactions show that you understand your elders’ needs and care.
Here are some suggestions to help you make sure that you communicate effectively with your elderly loved one:
Ask open-ended questions.
These types of questions show that you are listening to what they have to say and encourage them to continue.
Open-ended questions give elders the opportunity to elaborate, describe and provide more details about topics that interest them.
Elders respond better to questions that encourage them to share their interests and feelings with others.
You can also try asking them for their advice or suggestions about subjects that you are interested in, such as how you can improve your work performance or how to make friends at work.
For example: “How did your day go? Did you have a good workout at the gym?” Even if they live in an excellent care facility, like one of the many Signature Care Homes across the country, they will still have new things to talk about every day and new experiences.
Make sure that your facial expressions are encouraging.
By making eye contact with your elders and smiling, you can help them feel important and listened to.
Nonverbal communication makes up for two-thirds of the message you are sending to your elders.
Eye contact also helps your elders feel that they are not being judged and that they can be honest with you.
Be interested in what they have to say.
Don’t interrupt them. Give them space to talk about what is on their mind, and maintain an open posture by uncrossing your legs and arms as well as maintaining eye contact during conversation. You will be better able to build a good relationship when you take the time to listen to what they have to say.
Be a good listener.
Listen attentively to the speaker, and keep your emotion under control. A person can tell if you are interested in what they have to say or if you think that you know better than them.
Avoid asking questions that you could have easily figured out by listening to their answers. Instead, ask them questions to show them that you are listening.
Be courteous and polite.
Be kind and respectful to your elders. This will help you build a better relationship with them, and it also shows that you respect their knowledge in the same way they respect your knowledge.
Try to notice what kind of atmosphere they are comfortable with and make sure to give them this atmosphere when you are around them.