The Importance of Good Communication
Communication is essential to all social relationships, ranging from interactions with friends and family to interactions in business transactions. Virtually, in every facet of life, effective communication is the key to a successful relationship. This is no different for family caregivers.
Family caregivers are those people who have assumed the role as a caregiver for a family member or close friend. Many times, these caregivers are caring for an aging loved one who is no longer able to care for themselves as independently as before. As a result, caregivers frequently help their loved ones with day-to-day tasks, like meal preparation, bathing, getting dressed, walking downstairs, cleaning their homes, accompanying them to doctor’s appointments, scheduling social gatherings, and the list goes on and on. This level of responsibility requires that caregivers are effective and efficient communicators. In this blog, we will list several traits of good communicators so that caregivers can learn what skills to hone as they continue on with their caregiving role.
Traits of Good Communicators
(1) Listen! If you are going to communicate with others, one of the most important things is listening to others. Family caregivers need to be expert listeners if they are going to care for their loved one who may have certain difficulties communicating themselves (maybe as a result of a medical condition). Good listeners are able to be patient, pay attention to detail, not jump to conclusions too quickly, and, most of all, empathize with their interlocutor. Also, listening dos not necessarily mean listening to vocal communication. Listening can also involve paying attention to body language or the other person is acting.
(2) Understanding: This sounds like an obvious trait of good listeners, but this trait is harder to cultivate than you may think. Understanding means that you fully comprehend what someone else is trying to tell you before judging that person or jumping to conclusions about the situation. Understanding, like listening, involves careful attention to what someone is trying to tell you. This is especially important for caregivers as they are often trying to gauge what might be wrong if their loved one is not feeling well.
(3) Ask Questions: A component of understanding and listening is to as questions. Asking questions helps people clarify what is not clear to them at first. So, if you do not understand, do not hesitate to ask someone to repeat or elaborate on what they said.
(4) Do Not Interrupt: One of the worst things you can possibly do when someone is trying to communicate something to you is to interrupt them. It is better to let everyone have their time and chance to talk before sharing your thoughts on the situation.
(5) Reiterate: Finally, whenever someone has communicated something to you, it is a great idea to try and summarize or reiterate what they said so you can verify that you’ve understood them. This practice will help you avoid miscommunication issues.
Caregiving requires many skills. One of those skills is good communication. You will find that if you follow the above steps, you can avoid many problems that are often the result of miscommunication. If you have any questions, feel free to call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.