Honesty is always the best policy, right? Even so there are occasions when some truths are better left unsaid, or at the very least worded more positively, especially when communicating with senior parents. Although we could have the very best of intentions in attempting to help seniors navigate life, we are able to assist in preventing hurt feelings in our loved ones by rethinking statements like the following:
- Don’t you remember…? Short-term loss of memory is actually quite common in older adults, and pointing it out so candidly can be belittling. Instead, try non-verbal strategies to help jog your loved one’s memory, like strategically placing positive reminder notes at home, such as on the refrigerator, bathroom mirror, TV remote, etc. If a verbal reminder would be helpful, make sure to try to keep your tone light; and inquire if the senior would like you to assist, such as in making a medical appointment on her behalf or picking up a prescription.
- You’re not trying hard enough. The simple truth is, many older adults develop physical or cognitive impairments which make once-simple tasks extremely challenging. It’s also important never to take over tasks the individual could do, but which might take a bit longer to do. Offering to serve as a partner in accomplishing an arduous task could be effective, like asking the senior to manage some of the task as you tackle another part of the task.
- I know; you already told me. It can be frustrating to hear stories you have already heard more than once from a senior loved one, but it’s important to stay patient and offer the older adult the respect you would want if the tables were turned.
- When you die, can I have…? Nobody wants to feel as if their possessions are of such value that family can’t wait to have their hands on them. In case the older adult does not have a will set up that describes his or her wishes, it’s certainly a good idea to get that taken care of, but allow the person the freedom to choose to whom his or her belongings ought to be given.
- Wake up! Forget about any embarrassment you could have about your senior loved one drifting off to sleep at inappropriate times, such as during a movie, a religious service, or a concert. Altered sleep patterns, medication side effects, among other factors, can make it hard for some seniors to sleep well during the night.
To get more effective communication suggestions to help your senior parents keep the dignity they deserve, contact the Kalamazoo senior care experts at Home Sweet Home In-Home Care today at 269-224-1683.