Home Instead Blog

10 Tips to Help Seniors Communicate With Their Adult Children
Sep 19, 2013

10 Tips to Help Seniors Communicate With Their Adult Children

  1. Be Assertive - Work out what you need in a specific situation, stating it clearly and definitively so the other person can't fail to understand. Don’t allow the conversation to be side-tracked on to other issues, even if you are being patronised, put down or abused.
  2. Not Aggressive - Even if it makes you feel good, making negative, personal attacks and insulting the other person is unlikely to be helpful. It also puts focus on the other person which means you've lost ability to talk about what you wanted to discuss.
  3. Be Selective - pick your battles. It may be easier to walk away or go along something smaller now so you can assert yourself later in a more important situation.
  4. Optimise your Energy - plan to have important conversations in places and at the time when you are at your best. If you are a morning person, don't wait until late evening to start a discussion.
  5. Compensate for your weakness - if you have trouble hearing. Go and get a hearing test and if you need one, don't be embarrassed: wear a hearing aid. Similarly, if you tend to forget points you want to make, get into the habit of making lists and using them to help.
  6. Seek Independence, Avoid Dependence - Seek social contact where people encourage you to do things yourself and where they challenge you mentally or physically. It can be bad for your health to be waited on all the time, but if you need assistance to maintain independence seek out suitable resources.
  7. Raise the Issue - Recognise that there are topics your adult children will want to know about but may not like to ask. If the opportunity arises for you to mention it, do so.
  8. Defend without Defensiveness - your adult child may approach you with what seems like an accusation. Instead of getting defensive, suggest ways in which you can reassure them - they're raising the point out of concern, even if they phrase it badly!
  9. Look for points of Agreement – Common ground is a good starting point for resolving problems. So even if you disagree with 90% of what someone is saying, don’t forget to point out what you do agree on. It also shows you've listened carefully to what the other person is saying.
  10. Listen…And Put Yourself in Their Shoes – Get your free copy of the guide from any of the Home Instead Senior Care offices or by logging on to www.homeinstead.ie