Tips for Family Caregiving Conversations

| By Jodi Horton

Caring for an aging parent or loved one can be a delicate situation, and strong communication between all involved family members is necessary for a positive caregiving experience. In today’s blog post, we make a few recommendations for how to improve the communication process between you, your loved one, and other members of your family caregiving team.

two women talkingBe an active listener.

Sometimes we hear things without listening. Be fully engaged in the conversation and avoid external distractions. This can mean turning your cell phone to silent and turning off the radio or television. Maintain eye contact, and avoid interrupting the other person when they’re speaking.

Set aside your time.

Serious conversations don’t happen quickly. Give yourself plenty of time to review caregiving needs and concerns with your loved ones.

Create a comfortable space.

Your physical surroundings matter when you’re having a difficult conversation. Find a space that’s comfortable—think seating, lighting, noise.

Address barriers to effective communication.

When speaking to an aging loved one about caregiving concerns, be cognizant of potential health or physical barriers to communication. If dementia is a concern, remember to use short and simple sentences, and be patient when you know you might have to repeat yourself. If your loved one simply has a difficulty hearing, make sure they have their hearing aids in and turned on, if available, and try and keep external noise to a minimum.

Have a note taker.

If this is a group conversation, it can be beneficial to assign someone the role of note taker. Notes can help keep track of concerns, assigned tasks, and limit confusion later.

Casa de la Luz Hospice provides hospice services to Pima County and southern Pinal County. If you have a loved one with a terminal illness and six months or less to live, contact us today at (520) 544-9890 to set up a free evaluation and see how we can help you and your family.

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