Helping the Elderly Communicate Their Needs

If you have become a caregiver, to an elderly parent, or other family member, then a new role has been established. Whenever a new role takes place in your life, it becomes paramount to establish good communication. This is never more important then when you are dealing with a senior, to whom you are now the caregiver. It becomes important whether you are the part-time or full-time caregiver, to help your loved one communicate their needs to you. Here is what you need to know about helping the elderly communicate their needs.
  • Understand that this is an emotional time-Your elderly loved may be feeling a lot of negative emotions, about the new roles, you are having to establish. Anger, depression, and resentment, can be common, as the senior in your life, realizes that they are not able to fully function, on an independent basis. They may feel guilty, and apprehensive about having to rely on your care. It is important to understand that control looms large for the senior in your life, as they experience the deterioration of their physical health, and mental acuity, as well as the loss of their homes, and independence, and the deaths of friends and life partners. Given these monumental losses, it's no wonder that elderly people tend to fight for control, over the few areas of life, they are still able to manage. Now is the time to listen carefully, reassure them, and let them know that you are gladly taking on this role, and the two of you will work through any difficulties together.
  • Gain some knowledge-Becoming a caregiver can be an overwhelming task. Few people feel equipped with enough information, to simply take the job on, with no questions asked. If you have concerns, or questions, at they have prepared a resource library for caregivers. Simply type in to access the world’s largest caregiver resource library with over 500 entries. Best of all the entire library can be searched by using a key word or phrase.
  • Ask and listen, more then you talk-More then anything else, our elderly loved ones, just want to be listened to. You can gain valuable information on how to care for the senior in your life, if you ask pointed questions, and then sit back and listen. If your senior is able to express their needs, desires and even fears, your job as a caregiver will be much easier. By showing respect and honesty in your communication, your elderly loved one will know that you have their best interest at heart.
  • Avoid being dismissive or condescending-If you are the caregiver, to your elderly parent, or other family member, you may be tempted to quickly dismiss their concerns, or fears as unimportant. Worse yet, you may not even realize that you are being condescending to their needs. This can become a problem, especially if the elderly person is suffering from an advancing disease, or other problem. It is important for the caregiver, to remember that that this is not a child, but a person who deserves respect and compassion for their needs.
  • Realize there is a difference in life stages-Studies show that most seniors, who are being cared for at home, are being cared for by family members. It becomes crucial to understand, that your elderly loved one is in a different stage of life. While you may face conflicting and multiple demands, your elderly parent, or other family member does not. This fact alone can cause conflict. Simply by acknowledging the difference in life stages, people of any ages can communicate more effectively and honestly.

About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visit to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


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