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Visiting a Senior over the Holiday Season?

Your Friends at Wesley Enhanced Living Offer Simple Tips for Communicating

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is here. Now is the time of year when many families gather to celebrate with fun, food, and gifts. Part of the festivities include spending time with your elderly loved ones. 

As parents and grandparents age, the dynamics of your relationship may change, and communicating with them may feel different. There was a time when you could snuggle up to grandma and she’d know if you wanted a treat, a story, or just a hug. Today, you may wonder why she is so bright and cheerful one day and a bit grumpy the next! You both may struggle sharing your thoughts with each other, but the good news is that it does not have to be like this.

Learn the art of communicating with your senior family members by following these simple tips. Soon, you will all be chatting and enjoying each other’s company; just what you want to get into the holiday spirit. The caring staff at Wesley Enhanced Living can also help you and your family continue to grow in your relationship with the senior in your life. We support all our residents with a variety of living options, from independent living to personal care services, and more, while also strengthening the bond between our residents and their family members. 

6 Tips to Help You Communicate with the Elderly

Bring joy and happiness to your senior family members by taking time to sit and talk with them, especially during this holiday season. Here are six tips to get you started:

  1. Be in the moment. Put the smartphone down and look your Mom in the eye while she talks. This action conveys much more than you may realize. Give her your full attention and be patient if she speaks at a slower pace than you do.
  2. Do not interrupt. Dad may ramble on about his health issues or the neighbor’s cat, but it is important to let him talk uninterrupted. He will appreciate it, even if he never says so.
  3. Be aware of the immediate environment. If the television is turned up loud, or others are talking loudly in the room, it is probably not a good time to strike up a conversation. Look for moments when it is quieter, or find a nook where the two of you can sit down together.
  4. Keep the conversation focused. It can get confusing for anyone if the topics of discussion keep bouncing around. Try to stay on topic as you share your day’s stories with grandpa so he will be able to enjoy them better.
  5. Expect differences of opinion. Mom may disagree with your opinion of your first cousin’s children. That’s okay! Accept that you will have differences and try to find the compromise.
  6. Remember, Mom gave you a lifetime of care. It’s sometimes hard to remember that Mom lived a full and rich life. Try to keep in mind that she has loads of experiences that you can benefit from. You do not need to “talk down” to her. Instead, offer encouragement and seek wisdom from her stories; even if she repeats them all the time! Think back to when you wanted her to read the same bedtime story night after night and she would do so with the same enthusiasm, even at the end of her long and tiring day.

Enjoy Conversations with Your Loved Ones

Make the next visit with your elderly loved one a time to remember by taking steps to engage them in conversation. You never know what gems you will uncover from your Dad’s past experiences. Mom’s stories can enlighten your children. Aunt May might have hilarious memories of her pranks from high school. And Uncle Johnny could speak about his time at war as though it happened yesterday. Chats with your senior can turn out to be the useful distraction you need from your everyday hectic routine! 

Keep these tips in mind when visiting a senior in your life this holiday season and remember that our team is always ready to aid you or a loved one in settling into a new home at one of our continuing care retirement communities.

Wesley Enhanced Living provides high-quality senior retirement communities for you or your loved ones.  Contact one of our Philadelphia area locations and find out why our seniors love where they live. Our staff is happy to discuss your elder’s needs or your own, give you a tour and inform you of our range of services.

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