It’s not easy getting older. As our family members age, whether that is a parent, grandparent, or spouse, you want to ensure that they are well taken care of, and that they are living comfortably. You worry about all of the physical needs: you ensure that food is adequate,  that their home is easy for them to get around in, and that their medical needs are all being met.

There are other things that need tending to as well. One of the worst things that can happen to anyone as they age is they become increasingly isolated from family and from the outside world. Perhaps they don’t drive or never did. Possibly, children live out of state or other family members are far away. Today’s fast-paced society can often be confusing for older people who are used to things going at a slower pace.

This is why it is so important to make sure your older loved ones have the socialization in their lives that they deserve. Listening is a way of validating a person, and letting them know that they are valuable. Although we all live busy lives, it is important to carve out time for aging family members, and provide a space where we can include them and listen to their concerns, thoughts, memories, and stories.

The best thing you can do for an older loved one is to listen to them. Let them tell you what they long to do, or would love to see. Don’t always be planning their day – let them do it instead.

Through open communication, you can understand whether or not their needs – both physical and emotional – are being met. Without two-way conversation, it is difficult to truly assess whether or not needs are being met. Listening is an effective tool that can be used by caregivers and family members to ensure that a senior truly is enjoying the quality of life that he or she seeks.

After all, isn’t listening what love is all about?

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