Bettering Your Communications with an Aging Parent


Published: 01/12/2012


We at Senior Care Society have a host of valuable information you may find useful when caring for an aging loved one. In the following article we would like to give you some tips that we have found helpful when problems arise in family relations due to the difficult adjustment seniors may experience as they transition from independent adult to a senior who needs assistance in their daily living needs. While we cannot guarantee that these tips will solve your difficulties with your loved one, it is our hope that they may provide you with some useful insight and possible solutions that will lead to a better understanding of your loved one:

  • Always Show Respect – An aging parent may be experiencing a lack of self-esteem or usefulness as they age and are less able to care for themselves. After being productive citizens and coping with life’s problems on their own, they now find themselves having to rely on others; this may cause feelings of resentment to the very person who is giving them loving care, even though misdirected. Trying as it may be during this adjustment phase, try to bolster your loved ones self-esteem and ask for their help around the home with tasks they can assist you with to increase their feelings of usefulness. Always speak to them in a respectful manner and being mindful not to treat or speak to them as you would a child.


  • Don’t Offer ADVICE -Try to remember that your loved one has likely been the one to be asked for and have doled out advice to their children; it is likely better not to offer any advice unless you are specifically asked. Giving advice without it being asked for may be taken as a sign that they are not capable of reaching decisions on their own or may cause feelings of resentment of always being “told what to do”. If a decision is looming and you need for them to consider specific options it is often better to enlist the aid of a trusted friend or impartial outsider (Dr., Clergy, trusted friend) to gently discuss or suggest their options.


  • Establish Your Communication Level - Make certain that they are hearing you; this may require a hearing test or adjusting their hearing aids, but your communications should never be in such a manner as to be taken as screaming or yelling.

  • Have Patience When Communicating – When there is a point of conversation when you are discussing a problem or decision is to be made have patience; never interrupt them while they are speaking or finish the sentences for them if they are taking a long time. Give them what ever amount of time they need to respond; they may be recalling your question/s or statement before answering, as we age this process sometimes slows down considerably so try to just be patient and give them the time they need before you respond.

  • Don’t Take It Personally - The transition from independence to reliant is a very difficult part of life for an aging parent and for some more than others this process may cause them great distress emotionally, try to remember how much they are struggling with this emotionally, even when they may be lashing out at you; they aren’t really angry at you, they are simply lashing out in frustration.


For more information, tips and caregiver advice come visit our free service @ Where our goal is to help you provide your loved ones with the dignity, compassion and care we all want for those we love.