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Communication

DC caregivers discuss communicating with their elder. Although caregivers understand the importance of communication, they admit it can sometimes be difficult.
  • Most of the time, we communicate well. I have gotten to know my mother better through taking care of her. Her personality changes sometimes because of the illness. When her glucose is high, she's irritable and it affects our communication. But then I stop and realize it's the illness, not the person. As caregivers, we need to understand this.
  • It's hard to get through to my mother because she doesn't hear well. She has a hearing aid, but she keeps taking it out. Then when I say something about it, she gets angry.
  • Sometimes because of my husband's pain, it's difficult to communicate with him. We talk, but he yells and gets nervous, so I just close the subject. Our communication is all one-way. I cannot change it. I have to be patient with him because he is sick.
  • My wife tries to talk with me, but she gets frustrated and upset when I don't understand her speaking. I try to spend more time just sitting and talking with her. The more time I spend talking to her and not just doing things for her, the more she appreciates it.
  • My wife and I communicate pretty well. There's not too much that I can't discuss with her. We talk about it (the issue) at length and come up with a pretty good agreement between us.


Practical Tips: Here are some practical tips from DC caregivers on communication
  • Realize that illness may make communication difficult for the elder.
  • Remember to exercise patience.
  • Elders appreciate the time caregivers spend talking to them as opposed to talking. about their illness or their care needs or talking about them to others.
  • Try not to take it personally; view things from the elder's perspective as well.
  • Sometimes you may have to step away from the situation.
  • Use humor to ease stressful times.
  • Talk to other caregivers who understand.
  • Look for opportunities to engage the elder in a fun activity.
  • Hugging, kissing and touching are important ways to communicate.
Part of the Senior Service Network Supported by the D.C. Office on Aging