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Talking to Elderly People: What Family Caregivers Need to Know

Perhaps you’re a professional caregiver and want to become more effective at your job. Or you’re training to be a family caregiver and would like to know how to maintain your relationship with your loved ones without experiencing caregiver burnout. Either way, you’ll want to learn how to communicate with older adults properly. This way, you can gain their trust, develop a connection with them, and make your job easier simply because you can prevent miscommunication from the ground up.

Ready to start? Here are a few communication tips that every family caregiver has to know:

Try to speak clearly.
People usually lose a certain degree of their hearing as they grow older, which is why many older adults have trouble following the conversations around them. So, if you are a family caregiver, you’ll want to speak as clearly as possible when talking to older people. Talk in a calm, matter-of-fact way, while enunciating words properly and keeping your talking speed at the correct level. Just make sure that you’re not shouting and coming across as condescending and patronizing.

Take the time to listen.
Being a family caregiver is stressful and challenging, and you may want to breeze through your tasks, so you can cross off everything on your To-Do list. However, despite your busy schedule, you’ll want to make it a point to listen to what they say. Be patient when they struggle to get their point across or when they forget a certain word or name. You should also avoid interrupting them as much as possible, and resist the urge to fill in the periods of silence during conversations.

Prioritize the issues to address
As a family caregiver, you’re responsible for every aspect of your elderly loved one’s health and well-being. Because of this, you may tend to tackle multiple issues at the same time to ensure that they stay healthy and safe. However, this can be overwhelming for seniors, especially those dealing with various changes in their memory, mobility, stamina, and other aspects of life. To ensure that they won’t be frustrated and embarrassed, try to stick to the most pressing issues and find solutions for them one at a time. If something doesn’t have to be done ASAP, set it aside until a more appropriate time comes to discuss it with your loved ones.

Whether you’re working as a caregiving professional or are undergoing training to be a family caregiver, you can use the tips listed above to build a good connection with them and become the best caregiver you can possibly be. If you’d like to get additional guidance or are still looking for companies that offer caregiver training, feel free to contact Alegna ALS. We provide world-class caregiver training programs to people who are caring for relatives in their homes, and we help them gain advanced skills and get paid for the work they do. Call us now and learn more about our programs!

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