Monday, February 2, 2009

Elder Care: How To Communicate In Your Caregiving Role

How To Excel As Caregiver!

As a caregiver, there are times it can be difficult
to talk with your loved one, especially if they
have some type of cognitive or hearing impairment.

How do you know if they truly understanding
what you are saying to them? Choosing the right
words and conveying the right message can be
difficult, especially when you are dealing with
their diminished capacity.

Sometimes, there are feelings of frustration both
on your part and theirs which is understandable.
But, remember. Do you think they like to be in
this position. Would you? Keeping that in mind,
you won't lose your patience.

Try these suggestions to make it easier on you,
as caregiver and your care receiver.

* Make sure you have their attention

With mental impairment, your loved one may
become confused if there is too much background
noise or there is another presence in the room.

And if your loved one is hearing-impaired, all the
more important...

* Call them by name

Use their first name, term of endearment (Sweetie or Dear)
or relationship (such as Dad or Mom) and pause for a

You may have to repeat yourself until they hear
your voice and turn to look at you. Before you
continue to speak, make sure they are engaged
with you.

* Speak clearly

You will want to be face to face with them at eye
level when you talk with them. If they can look
into your eyes and see your lips moving, they are
more apt to clue into what you are saying.

Of course, make sure you enunciate your words, being
careful not to slur. Never occupy your hands with another
task or look around when talking to your loved one. They
will lose concentration and interest.

* Use short sentences

Break up your message into short statements. Just like
with young children, adults with cognitive impairment
may not be able to process a statement with several
directives in it.

* Be kind and gentle

Do not raise your voice to be heard. This can startle or
scare your loved one. Instead, move closer to them,
taking care to respect their personal space.

Do not order or talk at them. Instead, formulate your
wording to make it seem they are doing you a favor by

Ask them for help instead of telling them
what to do. For example, "Can you move your cane so I
can walk without tripping?" or "Please come to the dinner
table; it is time to eat."

* Listen

Be sure to take the time to listen. Just because your
loved one may have some type of mental impairment
does not mean they have nothing to contribute to a

You may have to help them when they have trouble
coming up with words to something. Occasionally they
may know exactly what they are talking about but forget
the word for TV or dog. (Hey, this happens to me all
the time!)

When I would lose my patience with Mom, I would
step back and think of the Golden Rule. Simple as

This is no fun for them! Just offer love and kindness.

How To Excel As Caregiver!