Caring for your loved ones can be difficult due to their communication difficulties. These may be caused by brain lesions, declining memory, or hearing impairment. Medical conditions such as Parkinson’s or dementia could also negatively affect their communication capabilities. However, good communication is essential to maintaining strong relationships with your loved ones. This guide aims to explain the different ways you can improve communication with your loved ones.
Maintain Eye Contact
Studies have shown that eye contact is one of the most powerful and direct non-verbal methods of communication. Looking at someone while talking to them reaffirms your interest in the conversation and portrays you as someone more trustworthy. By maintaining eye contact while talking to your loved ones, you can get them to open up and talk about more things as the conversation environment becomes much more comfortable and positive.
Simplify the Message
When talking to your loved ones, it is best to keep messages and important sentences simple, short, and sweet. Instead of using medical terms or jargon, explain the information concisely and simply such that they will be able to better understand. Use phrases that are familiar and comfortable for your loved ones to aid in the conversation. This ensures that your message can get across better to your loved ones and they will not feel confused.
One very important attribute to have when engaging in conversations with your loved ones is patience. This is because your loved ones may not be able to process the information as quickly or as well as you and may have difficulties in sustaining a conversation or listening. This could be exacerbated by any medical issues that they may have. If the conversation occurs at a much slower pace than you would like, it is important to take time to listen to your loved ones and to let them clarify their worries.
It is very important to be a good listener when engaging in conversation and this takes lots of patience and empathy. When talking to your loved ones, avoid discussing multiple topics, asking multiple questions, or rushing them as this can be very confusing for them. By practicing active listening, whereby we listen intending to fully understand their words and thoughts, we can better connect and engage with them. Pay attention to your loved ones’ body language, tone, choice of words, and facial expressions to fully comprehend their words.
Despite the age difference between you and your loved ones, it is important to be able to understand their point of view and empathize with them. This will help to prevent conflict and arguments, which would foster a negative environment for communication and break down your relationship with your loved ones. It is normal to have differences, however, you should avoid escalating these into conflict. When people are angry, they will tend to not listen and not be receptive to conversation. Even worse, arguing with your loved ones may foster feelings of anxiety, distrust, and isolation which will be bad for their mental health and wellbeing. Try to find compromises if disagreements arise and be careful with your tone of voice, facial expressions, and word choices. Keep calm and rational during conversations and you will communicate better.