Caregiving can add a new dynamic in family communication. Physical, emotional, social, and financial struggles often come up which can affect each family member in different ways.
These new dynamics can cause constant friction, but it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s important that each family member commit to learning about and implementing healthy, two-way communication that will encourage understanding and interaction within the family.
Did you know? According to the Alzheimer’s Association, as many as 15% of caregivers must travel an hour or more to care for an aging loved one with dementia. Long-distance caregiving can further complicate communication and coordination of care.
Ways To Improve Communication
Technology has a lot to offer when it comes to keeping lines of communication open. From a regular phone call to text messages to video chatting, there are many options to choose from when you need to connect.
Additionally, there are a whole host of apps that were created for the sole purpose of making your life easier. There are task-management apps, calendar apps where you can put in appointments and reminders, and even apps to have groceries delivered to your doorstep.
Here are some you may want to explore:
- Remember the Milk
These are just scratching the surface to all the apps out there for helping with time and stress management, errands, and tracking care and medications.
Some caregivers prefer to keep records of everything using spreadsheets and other office software.
Some prefer utilizing caregiver-focused websites such as Family Caregiver Alliance and The Alzheimer’s Association. There are also a few online tools to help you collaborate with family members on your loved one’s health. Sites like CaringBridge.org, HealthVault, Tyze.com and WebMD Health Manager.
You can also communicate the old-fashioned way with family meetings, letters, journals, and phone calls.
7 Tips for Communicating with Your Senior Loved Ones
Caregiving also affects the dynamic when it comes to communicating with the loved one you’re caring for. Here are seven things to keep in mind in communication with your loved one:
- Don’t give unsolicited advice
- Really listen when your loved one is talking
- Expect and accept differences of opinion
- Speak clearly, but not in a condescending way
- Practice empathy and try to put yourself in their shoes
- Ask questions to get the conversation started
- Laugh as much as possible
Consider creative ways you can help your loved one shape their legacy: You can help them build a legacy through projects like making photo albums, interviewing them for recording family history, or making a hand-crafted heirloom item together (such as a quilt).
You’ll never regret the time you dedicate to understanding your loved ones’ experience and helping them to enjoy themselves in any way possible.
Want to learn more about senior living at its finest? Give our team of care professionals a call today to chat about your options.