Dad Wants You to Listen, Have Patience, and Enjoy Your Relationship

Looking for a great Father’s Day gift? Good communication is the best gift you could give your father on Father’s Day or any day as the years roll by.

You call him every day, but is your communication effective? Normal aging often brings new barriers—hearing loss, memory decline, or even slower processing of information hindering the process of communication.  The good news is communication is a learned process—that means effective changes you make will reduce the misunderstandings, relieve the stress and conflicts, and provide that pathway to an improved relationship.

“Strong relationships, especially with families, make the difference in quality senior living. Keeping old friendships and making new friends here, whether with other residents or with staff, also matter.  Interactions with sons, daughters, grands–these are the most powerful pathways to help an older adult thriving,” emphasizes Kaitlynn Redmon, Executive Director. “We see that glow every day when our residents become excited for visits or even calls from family and friends,” she adds.

“Becoming aware of changes we can all make when talking with older adults builds their confidence.  Some begin to focus on losses– ability to live independently, growing older and losing the sense of purpose they once had with jobs, raising families, and other responsibilities,” according to Kaitlynn.  Awareness and sensitivity that older adults may have an emotional need are first steps to creating the changes that result in better, effective communication.

Stay mindful that you will make the change.  Use these actions and you will feel better, too!

  • Patience! Slow down! Wait until Grandpa figures out what he wants to say, when you’ve asked a question. Wait for an answer before you respond—that’s active listening. Don’t plan your response until you’ve heard Grandpa speak.
  • Asking questions help make connections—give Dad opportunities to make choices, speak for himself.
  • Help Dad reminisce; he’ll feel more like your parent again.  Your questions show interest and you may learn something new!
  • Use “I think” instead of “You should” –a style of communication that avoids controlling or criticizing.
  • Speak face-to-face, eliminate sound and visual distractions. Increase your volume if necessary but don’t be condescending or use a higher pitch. You’re speaking with an adult!
  • Laugh—often!  Ease tension with a short joke or ask Dad for a joke.

Talking, listening, and laughing WITH an older adult is medicine!

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