The Power of Positive Communication: How to Strengthen Relationships with Elderly Parents
Communication is the foundation of any healthy relationship, and this is especially true when it comes to elderly parents. As parents age, their need for communication and interaction with their adult children becomes more important than ever.
Importance of Communication with Elderly Parents
How often do adults talk to their parents? According to AgeUK, 17% of older people report they are in contact with family and friends less than once a week; 11% report this contact is as infrequent as less than once a month.
Effective communication with elderly parents is essential for several reasons. It helps to keep parents engaged and connected to their family and the world around them. It also helps to strengthen the relationship between parents and their adult children. More importantly, communication can also help to identify any health or safety concerns that may arise as parents age.
Barriers to Communication with Elderly Parents
There are several barriers that can hinder effective communication with elderly parents. One of the biggest barriers is physical distance. Many adult children live far away from their parents, which can make it difficult to visit and communicate regularly.
Another barrier can be health. As parents age, they may experience a decline in their hearing and vision, which can make it difficult for them to communicate effectively. Cognitive decline can also make communication challenging, as parents may struggle to remember details or stay focused during conversations.
Lastly, differences in communication styles can also create barriers. For instance, parents may prefer face-to-face communication, while their adult children may prefer phone or text communication. Sometimes it is not possible to meet in-person due to a busy lifestyle these days.
Tips for Communicating with the Elderly
Despite these barriers, there are several ways in which can help to improve communication with elderly parents.
- It is important to be patient and understanding. Elderly parents may need more time to process information or may struggle to find the right words. It is important to give them the time and space they need to communicate effectively.
- It is important to use simple language and avoid complex or technical terms. This can help to ensure that parents understand what is being communicated and can participate in the conversation fully.
- It can be helpful to ask open-ended questions that encourage discussion and engagement. For example, instead of asking "How are you feeling?", try asking "What have you been up to lately?"
- It is important to be an active listener. This means paying attention to what parents are saying, asking follow-up questions, and responding in a thoughtful and empathetic manner.
The Power of Positive Communication
Positive communication is a powerful tool for improving relationships with elderly parents. Expressing empathy, understanding, and appreciation for parents is the key focus. Positive communication can be as simple as expressing gratitude for something that parents have done or recognizing their achievements. It can also involve actively listening to their concerns and offering support and encouragement. By using positive communication, adult children can build stronger relationships with their parents and create an environment where open and honest communication is encouraged.
How to Start a Conversation with Elderly Parents
Starting a conversation with elderly parents can be challenging, especially if there are communication barriers or if parents are not used to talking about their feelings. One effective way to start a conversation is to ask open-ended questions that encourage discussion. For example, you could ask about their day, their hobbies, or their interests. You could also try sharing something about your own life, such as a recent vacation or a new hobby. This can help to create a more relaxed environment for communication.
How to Listen Effectively
Effective listening is an important part of communication with elderly parents. It is important to be present in the moment and give parents your full attention. This means avoiding distractions, such as phones or other electronic devices, and focusing on what parents are saying. It also means asking follow-up questions and responding in a thoughtful and empathetic manner. Effective listening can help to build trust and understanding between parents and their adult children, which can ultimately lead to stronger relationships.
Tech-enabled Communication with Elderly Parents
Technology has had a significant impact on communication with elderly parents. While some elderly parents may struggle with technology, others have embraced it as a way to stay connected with their adult children and the world around them.
In this regard, PCL Connect can be a perfect solution. It enables effective, safe and easy communication between elderly seniors and their family, friends and caregivers. It is designed to be accessible and easy to use to bring down the struggles with technology that older adults may have. With remote health vitals monitoring, medication reminders, digital photo frame, voice calling and more, PCL Connect becomes the best tool to stay connected with elderly parents (and grandparents) and support their wellbeing.
Building strong, engaging relations is key for elderly care
Effective communication with elderly parents is essential for building strong relationships, promoting engagement, and identifying any health or safety concerns. While there may be barriers to communication, such as physical distance or cognitive decline, there are many tips and strategies that can help to improve communication and create a positive and supportive environment for parents to promote their overall well-being.