Having difficult conversations with their elderly parents can be a daunting task for their adult children. This isn’t necessarily because their parents lose their ability to communicate. Instead, other factors influence how effective conversations may be. Small disagreements often arise when discussing important issues, which can lead to frustration for everyone. If these types of conversations continue, the frustration can fester and strain relationships.
In addition to having reduced cognitive abilities, elderly parents may also have problems performing day-to-day activities such as dressing, going to the bathroom, washing, cooking, eating, and running errands. In these situations, a Long Beach caregiver can be an excellent resource to help with all of their daily needs. Since caregivers are typically seen as a neutral helper—not a relative with a more complicated relationship—they are often able to communicate more effectively.
If you’re attempting to have a conversation with your adult parent but the conversation is going sour, consider the following tips from a Long Beach caregiver to achieve positive results.
Be Careful Offering Advice
Adult children often assume their elderly parents want their advice. But what adult children don’t realize is that their parents have been giving them advice their entire life, so being on the receiving end may be a difficult thing to accept. Avoid telling them what to do and giving them advice—even if you think it’s necessary—unless they ask for it. Try to offer encouragement and support without being forceful or having a “my way or the highway” attitude. Your elderly parents will respond more favorably if you show patience and hear them out first.
Adult children often neglect one important conversational tool: listening. Try not to interrupt your parents when they are speaking and, if there is silence in the middle of a conversation, try not to fill it up. Sometimes they just need additional time to think about what they want to say, and you should give them the time to do so. Be open to truly listening to what they are saying, even if you disagree. Remember that a Long Beach caregiver can help with ways to communicate with your elderly parent more effectively.
Treat Your Elderly Parent as an Adult
Even if your parents rely on you for daily care, if you treat them like a child you won’t get very far when it comes time to have an important conversation—such as discussing finances. Treat your elderly parents like adults. Give them the respect they seek and deserve, and never make them feel as though they’re inadequate. Avoid directly telling them to do something. Instead, be polite and considerate when you ask for something to get done. If you have a conversation with a third party, such as a physician or a Long Beach caregiver, include your parent in the conversation.
When communicating with your elderly parents is difficult, try to remember that it may not be their fault. Diminished cognitive abilities and their frustration at not being able to function at previous levels may make them irritated and quarrelsome.
Do your best to be exceedingly patient. It could take them extra time to recall the word or exact phrase they’re looking for to convey their message. Give them the time they need to remember it. If you rush your parent or cut them off, it will only cause additional stress and strain for future conversations. Keep in mind that you relied on your parents for years for their best care and advice. Now is the time to return the favor with respect, patience, and love.
As always, know that you can count on a Long Beach caregiver to help with your elderly parent’s daily needs. From preparing meals to light housekeeping to medication compliance—and all of their other day-to-day needs—a caregiver is available to provide whatever assistance he or she needs. Learn more about the services a Long Beach caregiver provides by calling 877.422.2270.