This time of year is considered special by many, and it’s with a reason. The holiday season is upon us. During this time, friends and family gather to celebrate various festivities and enjoy time spent together. Over the holidays, it is essential to be around your elderly loved ones and dedicate some of your time to them. But the issues that arise when you try to do this is from the difference in age and interests. Sometimes younger family members don’t know how to approach their senior loved ones and directly talk to them. At the same time, the seniors often feel like they are left out the conversation. The first thing that you can do to improve your communication with an older family member is to understand what’s causing the issue. Here we are going to talk about different communication tactics that can help to overcome this problem.
Some of the Best Known Are:
- Put Yourself in Their Shoes
- Be Mindful of Loss of Hearing
- Offer Choices and Recognize Their Independence
- Ask Open-Ended Questions, Listen, & Follow Up
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
It can be difficult for a person to sit at the dinner table and feel like they are left out of the conversation. In your senior’s case, this can be even more difficult to handle. It often makes them feel as though they are treated as kids all over again, despite their vast life experience and wisdom. In some situations, the elderly who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s are often entirely left out of the conversation. The best way to change this scenario is to imagine yourself in their shoes and start thinking how would that make you feel. The first step is understanding, and you have already begun to change things around.
Be Mindful of Loss of Hearing
You don’t need to be a doctor to understand that the loss of hearing, or even some other senses such as vision, that come with old age can make it difficult to follow conversations. Luckily medicine has advanced enough so that we can make life easier for our older loved ones with various assistive devices that can improve their hearing or vision. But even without them, you can be aware with your own part of the conversation by merely speaking slower or louder—the minor limitations that elderly people have don’t need to be the reason for them being left out from family gatherings even when they are physically present.
Offer Choices and Recognize Their Independence
With old age, there will undoubtedly be physical limitations that the elderly will have to face, but that doesn’t mean that they want to be utterly reliant on you or that they are ready to fully accept the new order of things. This is something you need to take into account when talking with your older loved ones.
The difference is in the simple way you say things. For example, instead of saying, “Here, Grandpa, take this glass of water,’’ you can say, ‘’Would you like a glass of water, Grandpa?”
It is essential to make seniors feel like they are an equal partner in a conversation like they should be. This will make them feel good about themselves and create a positive atmosphere all around.
Ask Open-Ended Questions, Listen, & Follow Up
The best way to start a conversation is to remember first grade English lessons. All you need to do is to start a discussion with an easy question. When it comes to the elderly during the holiday season, the easiest way is to ask them about past holidays and how they did things back in the day.
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