Talking with Senior Parents

Jun 14, 2018 | Uncategorized

If you’re a caregiver for aging parents, you know that each day, month, and year can bring new challenges. Some are easier to adjust to than others, but changes that involve personality alterations or the ability to communicate can sometimes feel the most challenging.

Continue providing the best loving care for your senior parents by adjusting the way you communicate. Here are a few simple tips to help you open the lines of communication and help them know just how much you care for them.

If communication with your loved one has become challenging, especially for senior parents suffering the effects of dementia, give us a call. Hope for dementia is here:

Caring for your elderly parents can be a challenging task. As the body gets older, it falls victim to a number of health problems, which can be difficult for us to cope with. Seniors often become depressed and upset over small things because their bodies are unable to keep up with their minds. Other seniors will have mental health problems, which takes a toll on them and everyone around them. You will need to make simple modifications to your parents’ home and shop for things that you may not have imagined, like incontinence pads and enemas.

In order to properly care for your elderly parents, you need to learn how to communicate with them. Here are five simple ways you can open the lines of communication and build a strong and healthy relationship with your parents:

Show them respect. Just because you need to get them ready for the day does not mean they are a child. Your parents want you to still look up to them as parents, not as an infant that needs care. Show them respect by treating them as your equal. Ask them for advice. Give them the opportunity to share their opinions instead of making decisions for them. They need to have their voice heard.

Learn how to listen to your elderly parents. Parents like to be heard by their children, no matter their age. Respect them by truly listening to them. When they are talking, give them your complete attention. Let them tell you stories for hours and engage them in fun conversations. Sometimes listening can be difficult and you may not hear exactly what they said. If so, follow up with clarifying questions. This is a great way to make their life easier and to make your caregiving time more enjoyable.

Remain calm. Elderly parents may be slipping into the early stages of dementia and sometimes they say things they don’t mean. Many researchers have found that some elderly people tend to think they can say whatever is on their mind because they are “old.” Instead of lashing out at your parents when they say something hurtful, take a deep breath and walk away. If they continue to exhibit this behavior, kindly confront them and express your feelings. You may need to talk to their doctor as it may indicate they have dementia or that they have suffered a small stroke.

Have rules and boundaries. As a caregiver, you are giving up a large part of your life for your elderly parents. They will recognize this sacrifice and your devotion to them, so you don’t need to constantly tell them. It is important for you to set boundaries and rules for your elderly parents to keep your relationship strong and healthy. Let them know that some of their requests are unreasonable and learn how to tell them no. If your elderly parents cause too much stress on other loved ones, try to limit your visits to their homes. Keeping it short and sweet may be easier for some of your siblings that do not understand dementia.

Love them. The best way to open up the lines of communication with your parents is to simply love them. Acknowledge when they do things in the spirit of wanting to help. They may not be able to do things the way you want, but they are trying. Always share your appreciation for your parents and how much you love having them in your life. They need to know they are needed, too.

Written by Dianna Malkowski for