Communicating well is an important part of being a good caregiver. If you and the person you’re caring for don’t communicate your feelings clearly and directly it can lead to stress and frustration for both of you. In this video we’ll show you how effective communication Can improve your caregiving situation and give you some tips on how to be a better communicator. Communicating effectively with the person you’re caring for will help you understand each other’s goals and needs. It will also ensure that they get the best care possible not just from you but from their health care team as well. If something is wrong it will be easier for the doctor to diagnose and treat them if you can both accurately describe the symptoms. Here are a few ways that you can improve the communication between you and the person you’re caring for. First be open and honest with each other. Express your feelings without fear of judgment and encourage the person you’re caring for to do the same. If you’re feeling upset about something trying to hide it will only cause more tension. When things do get tense make an effort to stay positive and stay focused on solutions. If you and the person you’re caring for get into an argument try to find a solution that works for both of you and doesn’t leave anyone feeling like they’ve won or lost. Listen not just for the sake of responding don’t just assume that you know what they’re thinking or feeling. Let them tell you. Really pay attention to what they’re saying and confirm to make sure you understand if something is unclear. Be aware of your body language during conversations. When you’re talking together turn your body to face them and avoid what we call defensive postures like crossed arms or clenched fists. Don’t shrug tap your feet or roll your eyes. Pay attention to their body language as well since it can provide clues as to how they’re feeling. Do your best to reduce distractions in the room while you’re having a conversation. Turn off the TV put down your phone and give them your full attention. Focus on discussing current issues rather than dwelling on previous arguments or failures of communication. Bringing up past disagreements can make the person you’re caring for feel like they aren’t being heard or that their concerns don’t matter. After you finish having a conversation take a few moments to reflect on what worked well and what could have gone better. And then try to apply what you learned in the future. Remember that the person you’re caring for is going through a very difficult period in their life and that they may need encouragement when it comes to opening up about their feelings. Show them you value them by spending time together even when you’re not on the clock. Communicating effectively isn’t always easy but with a bit of practice And some self reflection you and the person you’re caring for can establish a positive and respectful dialogue. Things will go a lot more smoothly if you both feel you’re being heard. Be sure to visit our Web site for more caregiver support and resources.