One of the inevitable things that you will eventually face in life is dealing with aging parents or those who are already in their senior years. Whether you like it or not, it is your responsibility to connect with them because they are the reasons why you are in this world. Take note that your family will never exist were it not for your loving mother and father. Now that they are already in their old age, it is time to repay them for all the sacrifices that they have made to help you succeed.
Unfortunately, adult children and senior parents get into fights and misunderstandings because of poor communication. “So it’s important to take a deep breath before having a conversation about a sensitive topic and recognize the feelings that you have about the issue,” according to Dr. Amy D’Aprix. For this reason, we have decided to dedicate our next article on the site to talk about effective communication tips that one can use in dealing with an aging parent. Here are some of the things that you can do:
According to Christina Steinorth, MFT, a psychotherapist, “Aging is a series of losses — loss of employment, health and energy, friends, mobility, and independence.” Consider how you’d feel if you were in their situation.” Remember that the circumstances for you and that of a senior parent are different from each other. You cannot expect him to be the same individual that he was ten or twenty years ago. Remind yourself that everything is changing in his life and it can be scary. He may not show it, but your parent is probably thinking of how old he is already.
Together with it is the thought that he is no longer as strong and great as he is in the past. For this reason, you have to increase your empathy around him. Imagine being in his shoes so that you can become a more understanding child.
Now that you have understood the significance of empathy, the next thing that you have to remember is to let your senior parent know that you are more than willing to converse with him. Never make the mistake of showing him that you are too busy at work or in business. Otherwise, he may end up hating or resenting you for it.
Of course, you cannot afford it if your parent will feel remorseful against you. Hence, you may end up becoming the bad guy in the family. What is essential is to connect with your parent regardless of your hectic schedule. Keep in your mind that he may not be around for long in your life.
Make Phone Calls
If your aging parent leaves away from you, especially if he is staying in a nursing home, the least that you could do is to make regular phone calls to him. Never give him an idea to start thinking that you have abandoned him. It will surely crush his heart into tiny little pieces. Instead, connect to him in another way.
Consider yourself lucky because nowadays, you can already enjoy the various advancements in technology. Pick up your cellphone today and dial the number of your beloved parent. He will surely be happy to receive a call from you.
Be A Good Listener
Many people make the mistake of thinking that communication involves talking and speaking only. What they do not know is that it also covers listening. When talking to your parent, be sure to practice the art of listening thoroughly to the other person. As already mentioned above, there is a high chance that you will suffer from a severe illness if you do not calm down.
For every conversation that you have, make sure to show him that you are listening to what he is saying. As such, do not hesitate to ask questions or clarifications from him. It will make him feel validated knowing that you are listening to him even if you are already an adult.
Choose The Topics
As much as possible, avoid talks or topics that can put spark an argument between you and your parent. For example, do not raise money talks if your beloved parent is not comfortable discussing it. He may be suffering from a financial loss and talking about it will break his heart. If there are sensitive topics to discuss, maybe the smart thing to do is to check whether he is in a good mood to talk or not.
The safe topics can include updates about his grandchildren or his favorite movies and TV shows that he now enjoys watching. Make sure to put this in mind so that you can prevent hurting the feelings or emotions of your parent.
Senior parents may be challenging to deal with, but everything is easy if you know how to do the things mentioned above. Remember that the basic foundation of any relationship to parents is respect. Just because your parent is already aging does not give you the right to feel like you are already above them. Show respect to an aging parent by following his requests. Follow the effective communication tips mentioned above for more clients. “Talking with your parents about tough issues is not easy. But if approached the right way, it can strengthen and enrich your relationship with each other and be a tender way of expressing your love and care for them,” says GARY GILLES, LCPC.