Listening to Your Parents Even Now
Would you ever feel aggravated after knowing that the elder is trying to stop your progress when you go to visit them in their apartment? It feels miserable especially when you do it out of care and concern for them? The list you had prepared earlier no doubt had all the ingredients of a perfect caretaker. It was prepared to help your parents live in a clean and healthier atmosphere.
Being a caregiver is no simple job and for a major part of it you do things that your aging parent is not able to do any more. A few elders do not have the energy to do so fatigue and other factors such as motivation prevent them from doing anything.
Oblige when your parent wants to sit down and talk to you, for all you know it might be especially important. It could be aggravating to you, but the news you share with her could be important than the apartment getting cleaned up.
It feels better to be called a caregiver or a caretaker than just a house cleaner or a cook or even a chauffeur. A caregiver’s job is not easy when compared to the latter as anybody could do such things. Caregivers feel better because the parent you look after is closer to the heart than just any elder. Anything she speaks can be understood better only when you can lend your ears and patiently listen.
You as a companion to your parent will make them extremely proud and happy so do not downplay the role. You will provide a lot of support and emotions to your parent by doing this. This will boot their self-esteem. It will encourage them to share anecdotes and their stories with you when you go there to visit them.
A listener is not the one who keeps saying words like “uh huh” often. You must do better than that to make them feel good. Your parent will feel bad if she finds that you are trying to tolerate her talk and that you are not really interested. To capture their hearts and make them feel on top of the world is to visit their apartment more often just to hear them share their stories.
You should make it a routine to visit your parent’s apartment to sit down and have a snack or some tea. You can spend a valuable half hour with them. It will be nice on your part to listen to them with lot of interest and thereby cheering them up. You can laugh at their jokes and encourage them to speak more with you. Ask them questions and discuss things in depth to just spur them on to talk more.
You choose an apt time to say things like, “Mom, I shall go tidy up the dishes. You can sit and continue to talk while I am doing it.” This will be most encouraging to them. This is an enjoyable way to do both your work as well as listen to your parent. You can let your mom or dad walk around the place following you to tell their stories. Give reactions of you being engrossed in their stories to keep them going.
Do not filter any topics to talk about. Talk in general and be frank to them and most importantly listen with ears wide open to react well. You should be well prepared to even talk trivial issues just like you do with kids. Elders are like children. Improve your communication skills with them as you go about talking to them and make them feel important. They will start to open when they figure out you are listening to them well.
Best Wishes, Coyalita
Behavioral Health Rehabilitative Specialist
See Tomorrow: “Managing Your Senior Citizen’s Medications”
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