No matter the position in which you serve professionally or personally, communication will always be essential. It can be a challenge when working in-home care for seniors to communicate fluently with everyone involved. Sometimes, generational gaps can get in the way and cloud our understanding of one another. It can feel as though we are speaking foreign languages or like we are on the Tower of Babel. This gap can feel vast and impossible, but even the youngest to the eldest will successfully communicate one way or another.
Can We Bridge the Gap?
Amid miscommunication, it can be tempting to ask, “can we even do it? Can we bridge the gap?” it can feel overwhelming when you are unaware of why the gap is there or what causes it. In most situations, knowledge is power. This is no exception. But what can be done to overcome these gaps? What knowledge must we gain? Let us explore ways we can tackle this obstacle.
1. Be Aware of Different Forms of Communication
There are many different ways to communicate. We must remember that those we care for are of the generation that prefers to communicate face to face, or at the very least, over the phone. Communicating with a real person is vital to them feeling understood, heard, and cared for. Suppose you are working in-home care for seniors and are not providing this type of communication. In that case, they can feel unappreciated and offended since they do not think the modern methods of communication such as texting and social media are helpful. As home care providers, you must look into and remember how your patient enjoys communicating and replicate it to bridge the communication gap. If they struggle with modern technology, help them out using the technology they are familiar with or are comfortable with. They may eventually even ask for your help in learning the new stuff if you are respectful in assisting them in how they feel most at home.
2. Be Aware of What Language you are Using
Different words have gained varying meanings over the years. New-age jargon can feel unfamiliar and scary to those requiring personal home care assistance. As home care providers, it is your responsibility to bridge the gap between you, the patient care agency you are employed by, and your patient. Being aware of what language you are using around your patient is vital. If you notice an adverse reaction when using certain words or ask questions about specific terms, you can explain the jargon or change the words you use if it created offense.
For example, if you commonly speak aloud the letters you may text someone, like “IDK” (shorthand for “I don’t know”), you may want to reassess how you communicate in front of your patient. Saying “IDK” may be confusing and foreign to them. Speaking to your patient in a way they understand is vital when treating them to explain what ails them adequately.
3. Get to Know Your Patient
The bottom line is getting to know your patient. If you are working in-home care for seniors, you will need to get to know your patients as individuals. We all get busy and struggle to remember to take our time when caring for others. Our patients can quickly become numbers or diagnoses. As home care providers, we must be diligent in providing our patients with the care and individualism they deserve. A few ways you can get to know your patient and connect with them are:
- Ask them questions
- Actively listen to their stories
- Tell them something about your day
- Ask about something they did that day
- Share your own stories when you think of them at the moment
These little acts of kindness and thoughtfulness can significantly impact your relationship with your patient. Improving the relationship and building trust can enhance the communication between you. Enhancing your relationship and communication with the patient will be the first and most significant step in bridging a generational gap.
Home care for seniors can be a challenging area to work in. The needs of each patient are different and can change from visit to visit depending on their ailment. Clear and concise communication is needed between all involved parties so that the patient can receive proper care in the required timeframe. TLC Homecare pride itself on communicating effectively. Apply with them today and see how they can help you improve your communication skills.