3 Communication Tips for Caregivers
Being a caregiver puts you at the center of a complex network of people with whom you need to maintain open communication. Use these strategies to keep calm and stay on track as you juggle these connections and responsibilities.
Make Conversation a Two-Way Street
Depending on the condition with which your loved one is struggling, he or she may find it difficult to communicate. This is especially true with dementia patients, although any situation in which health is failing can create confusion.
Encourage your loved one to share his or her concerns by being open about your own feelings. Remind him or her you’re there to help. Stay calm when your loved one opens up, and make it a point to listen and be sympathetic.
Be Detailed with Doctors
As you care for your loved one, keep records of his or her eating habits, sleeping schedule and medication routine. Note side effects, allergies and other important information his or her doctor needs to know. Prior to any conversations or medical appointments, make a list of everything you want to ask the doctor so that nothing is missed.
If you need to have a detailed discussion with your loved one’s healthcare provider, request a private space in which to do so. Let the doctor know how involved you are in your loved one’s care and what medical information should be shared to ensure proper care.
Involve the Family
As a caregiver, you can’t handle everything alone. Don’t assume others know what you’re feeling or experiencing. Talk with other family members about the challenges you’re facing, using statements beginning with “I” instead of “you,” and give others a chance to express their feelings.
Open, calm discussions prevent feelings from bubbling under the surface and exploding later on.
Make time to discuss difficult subjects, such as finances and healthcare, in practical terms. Doing so in advance reduces the potential for conflict and takes the stress out of making important decisions when the time comes.
Communicating as a caregiver requires patience, and you may need to take a breather once in a while to ensure you can remain calm when speaking with family members, health care providers and your loved one. Stay focused on what’s important, and don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it.
Caring Home Care can help families match with helpful professional caregivers who can provide respite when the workload feels overwhelming. Our wonderful caregivers can help with tasks big and small, from housekeeping to cooking and bathing. Learn more today!