How to Improve Communication in Caregiver Relationships

Communicate clearly and with kindness. Learn how to improve your communication with the person who is in your care.

Do's Don'ts
Do provide confidentiality. Don’t talk to someone if you are not in a good mood i.e. if you are angry or upset.
Do focus on just the person when you’re talking to them. It may be helpful to a quiet room to avoid any type of distraction. Don’t raise your voice or talk sharply — it can sound like you are upset even if you are not.
Do ask if they are ready for a chat or if there is a suitable time for a conversation. Don’t talk to them like they are children.
Do ask them open ended questions that will allow them to share their feelings. e.g. “What was it like when you were growing up?” Don’t cross your arms or have bad posture when you are talking to someone. Be inviting by keeping your arms down the side and sitting upright — it shows you are ready to have a conversation.
Do use simple language so they can understand. Don’t make judgement or jump to conclusions.
Do speak clearly & at a good pace. Don’t say, “I know how you feel” or “I feel sorry for you”.
Do ask one question at a time; be patient & allow time for them to respond. Don’t ask closed ended questions that result in a Yes or No answer. E.g. “Did you like the movie?”
Do use appropriate touch when allowed like hugging or holding hands etc. Don’t interrupt when they are in the middle of telling you something.
Do be silent & just LISTEN — it’s ok if you don’t have anything to say. Sometimes they just want someone to listen to them. Don’t downplay the person’s issues or problems by saying, “Oh it’s not that bad” or “everything will be fine!”
Do choose your words carefully. Don’t GIVE ADVICE.
Do clarify what you have just talked about with them to make sure everyone is on the same page. Don’t argue — even if you may not agree with them.
Do use humour appropriately — it’s ok to laugh about misunderstandings or mistakes.
Do be encouraging.
Do observe for non-verbal cues to see if what they are saying matches with how they are feeling.
Do validate their feelings like, “I can see that you are upset about something.