Communication Tips for Caregivers

Having good communication skills is necessary to build a strong, meaningful relationship with your loved one. It also ensures that you will be able to effectively share and receive information with doctors, pharmacists and other health professionals. At times it can be difficult talking to a loved one with memory loss, or a loved one who is a young child. Here are some easy things you can do to improve your communication as a caregiver.

Key Communication Skills

  • Have patience when talking to your loved one. Give him or her time to gather thoughts and explain things.
  • Don’t interrupt your loved one when he or she is speaking
  • Ask questions
  • Keep conversations simple

Communicating with Someone with Memory Loss

  • Try to help trigger the memory if he or she is struggling to place a thought
  • Remind your loved one about plans and appointments in a respectful, non-condescending manner
  • Be patient and give him or her time to think before speaking
  • Use visual aids, such as pictures to help jog the memory

Communicating with a Young Child

  • Don’t raise your voice when speaking
  • Be friendly
  • Ask questions to make sure he or she understood you
  • Use simple language
  • Use his or her name when speaking

Communicating with Doctors and Health Professionals

  • Make a list of questions and concerns for the doctor and bring them with you to the appointment, or have them with you when you call
  • Tell the doctor or health professional any necessary information about your loved one’s condition – even if you think it is embarrassing or unimportant
  • Do research on your loved one’s condition before speaking with the doctor, so you already have important background information
  • Be persistent – if a doctor does not return your call, try calling again