It may feel difficult for you to connect with the seniors in your life as they continue to age. This can be due to many reasons like hearing issues, chronic pain, communication problems, and decline in cognitive capabilities. All these can reduce the attention span of seniors and can make having conversations with seniors much more difficult.
Luckily, there are still many ways to have meaningful moments with your senior loved one. Using the right conversation starters can make chatting while waiting for a doctor’s appointment or over dinner easier. The tips shared by experts in assisted living and senior care can help you have good conversations with your senior loved one.
Talking To Elderly People
Speaking to elderly adults is not different from speaking to someone your age. Nonetheless, there are a few ways in which you can improve your listening and speaking skills to make your conversations more meaningful. What you need to accept here is that good communication involves both speaking and listening. Oftentimes, family members go into a conversation as the main speaker, forcing the senior to listen most of the time. Instead, you need to ensure that you are giving much speaking time to your senior loved one.
Use encouraging words to let them continue with their point of view or story, and practice active listening to let your senior loved one know that you are a captive audience. Smile genuinely, nod your head and do not multitask when your senior loved one is speaking. Also, you need to be patient, as your senior loved one can become distracted while talking, can face difficulties finding words, or face some other challenges while speaking.
Whenever possible, ask open-ended questions to initiate a conversation. These questions can help spark more conversation as they need more elaborate answers. You may use the phrase “tell me about” to start conversations. Moreover, it can be challenging for seniors to make conversations when they are unable to distinguish background noise. Therefore, make sure that the conversation is taking place in a quiet place and that your senior loved one has their hearing aid in place.
If many are involved in the conversation, ensure that everyone is speaking in turn. Having many conversations on different topics can be distracting and your senior loved one might check out of the process.
Lastly, if you do not agree with the opinion of your senior loved one, make sure not to argue with the person. Instead, try to redirect the conversation to some other topic that can leave both of you peaceful.