As the family member responsible for ensuring proper care of an aging loved one, you need to take steps to prevent elder abuse. One of the things that can often allow elder abuse to go on undetected is a lack of communication or a wounded relationship with that loved one. Here are a few tips to help you maintain your relationship and foster strong communication skills to make it easier for you to spot and address problems.
Spend Plenty Of Time Visiting
Keep in mind that as people age, they tend to move slower not only physically, but cognitively as well. That makes it important that you take your time when you visit. While brief visits are likely to be welcome as well, you won't typically have the chance to really converse about what's been happening unless you plan for time like lunch dates, weekend visits and even stops to enjoy a cup of coffee and a game of cards. The more available you make yourself to your loved one, the greater the chances are that he or she will be able to talk with you about any problematic events that may be happening.
Spend More Time Listening Than Talking
Any time you're visiting your loved one, make a point of being a good listener. The more actively and closely you listen to what your loved one has to say, the more likely it is that he or she is going to open up about concerns. In addition, the greater attention you have to the details of the stories, the more likely you are to pick up on any indications of mistreatment even when your loved one isn't being particularly forthcoming about it.
Ask About Everything
While you're visiting, spend some time asking questions. Opt for open-ended questions like 'Can you tell me more about what you did on this day?' or 'What else did the care provider say or do?'
Those questions are key elements of building those relationships and encouraging information sharing, so make sure you don't overlook those things. In addition, as your loved one answers questions, watch for changes in body language that could indicate that there's more to the situation than you're hearing.
Building strong, open and trusting relationships with your loved one even when their situation changes will help you spot problem signs early. For more information, reach out to an elder abuse attorney like The Jaklitsch Law Group for support.