As the population ages, more seniors are living in care communities. There are more than 900,000 seniors in assisted living and other care residences, according to the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living.
With so many seniors in these communities, their families may find it a challenge to communicate with their loved ones and the staff in nursing homes caring for them. But maintaining communication is key for their health and safety.
Here are reasons you should continue to communicate with residents in nursing homes and their staff, and ideas on how to do so.
Why You Should Communicate With Your Loved Ones
You and your senior loved ones in communities both can benefit from continued communication. Here are some of the benefits:
Better emotional well-being: Seniors in communities often face the risk of isolation and loneliness, which can lead to depression and other mental health issues. Regular communication with loved ones helps seniors stay connected, feel supported and reduces feelings of loneliness.
>> Read “What is Senior Isolation, and What Can You Do to Help?”
Enhanced safety and security: Communication with seniors ensures that they receive prompt assistance if they experience any issues or concerns. Seniors in contact with their family can share their concerns and feel listened to as the family can follow up.
Improved quality of life: Studies have shown that seniors who have regular communication with their family members have a higher quality of life. The National Institutes of Health says they are more likely to be happy, have better mental health, and experience less anxiety and depression.
Increased socialization: Communication with loved ones can help seniors stay engaged and active in the community. With more communication, seniors can feel more comfortable, leading to increased socialization opportunities in their communities.
>> Read “Mental Health Benefits of Socializing for Seniors”
Informed decision-making: Regular communication with family members can help seniors make informed decisions about their care and future plans. Families can help provide their loved ones with a sense of control and autonomy in their care.
How To Stay Connected With Loved Ones
Connect virtually: Use computer or phone video calls to keep in contact. Make sure your loved one is either comfortable with the technology or has someone in the community to help them. Seeing the faces of their family helps make a stronger connection.
>> Read “How Seniors Can Stay Virtually Connected with Loved Ones”
Interact on social media: Post on Facebook or other social media platforms. Share pictures of their grandchildren and updates about your latest activities, which will help them feel connected to you. You can also send private messages.
Make a phone call: It’s old school, but seniors may feel more comfortable on the phone rather than on the computer. Hearing your voice and the voices of their other family members can be comforting and encouraging.
Schedule in-person visits: Having a set schedule with your loved one will give them something to look forward to. These visits can be filled with opportunities for visiting, remembering and participating in fun activities.
Why You Should Communicate With the Community Staff
Healthy communication with senior care staff can help both you and your family member. You can also find out what you need to know about their care and condition. Here’s how this communication helps:
Enhances quality of care: Effective communication between you and community staff can lead to better coordination of care, resulting in improved quality of care and better outcomes for seniors. This gives you the opportunity to share your concerns and kudos.
>> Read “7 Ways Senior Communities Promote Health & Wellness”
Ensures individualized care: Effective communication with staff helps ensure that residents receive personalized care that addresses their unique needs and preferences. You can then give and get details about your loved one’s care.
Increases transparency: Communication promotes transparency and trust between staff and families, ensuring that everyone is informed and up-to-date about the senior’s care. Nurturing this relationship can benefit you and your loved one.
>> Read “How Senior Living Communities Provide Safety”
Provides information: Family members can provide valuable information about a senior’s health history, medications, preferences and needs that staff may not have access to, enabling staff to provide more personalized care.
Supports decision-making: Family members can help seniors make informed decisions about their care and future plans, and support them in navigating the complex health care system.
How To Stay Connected With Staff
There are a number of things you can do to start and maintain an amicable relationship with staff at your loved one’s community. Here’s what you can do:
Ask questions: Find out more about your loved one’s activities and care. This gives you a closer connection to them, and can help you step in with ideas and advice, as deemed appropriate.
Be patient: Caregivers are busy, so understand if they can’t get back to you quickly. Use this opportunity to find out who cares for your loved one and how to contact them directly when needed.
Listen attentively: When you communicate with staff, be sure to pay attention to what they say. Take notes and follow up with questions that demonstrate you understand what they’re telling you.
Share your contact information: This allows staff and administrators to get a hold of you if necessary. Keeping these lines of communication open can make your loved one more comfortable and cared for.
Thank them: Caring for seniors with various levels of need is a difficult job, so be sure to express your thanks to them. Honor their efforts, and communicate any appreciation to their managers.
Treat caregivers with respect: Trust these professionals to do their job, but know it’s your right to come alongside them to find out what you need to know. The more you treat caregivers with respect, the more likely they’ll be to work with you.
Download The Complete Guide to Senior Housing
When looking for senior housing options for yourself or your loved one, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the variety of choices. What is Independent Living? How is it different from Assisted Living? What kind of amenities are available?
This guide provides insights into all of these questions and beyond.Download the Guide
Trust Senior Lifestyle To Care for Your Loved One
Senior Lifestyle makes the care of your senior family member its priority. With the right level of care for your loved one’s needs, you’ll find activities, classes, meals and more to make your family member safe and secure. They’ll also have their daily needs looked after so they can live a carefree life.
Find out more about Senior Lifestyle or schedule a visit today.