Communication can be one of the hardest things between a caregiver and patient and may lead to arguments, hurt feelings and guilt. There are traditional ways of communicating such as asking questions, but there are also some communication tools that we may have overlooked.
Touch: Whether hugs, kisses, hand-holding or massage, touch can be very important in communicating your caring to your loved one. It may also help them to open up to you in a more positive manner and get to the root of what you may be trying to resolve or figure out.
Humor: Using humor we can often relay an important point without coming across “rough” or “judgmental.” Rather than simply stating to your loved one “get out of bed,” you could turn it into a humorous statement that will hopefully lead to at least a smile or a laugh. You want to be careful with this approach as everyone has a different sense of humor.
Role-Playing: Using a role-playing technique, you may better find what your loved one needs rather than continually asking the same questions over and over without an answer that helps to move you both forward.
As always, seek support! Communicate with other caregivers and be open to their ideas. Asking questions in support groups will help to provide you with ideas that may be non-traditional but have worked for others. Sometimes we get to the point where we are willing to try anything.
Of course, whenever you are able, seek some respite, accept offers of help from others and trust your instincts as they will often lead you in the right direction. We realize these are not as easy as they sound but when the opportunity presents itself, take advantage of it.
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