Listen and Win

By Susanne White. Posted on Wed Oct 21 2015

I love a good listener. I can tell when someone is really listening to me and I am truly being heard. Having someone's undivided attention is a wonderful experience. It can soothe the soul, calm me down and give me a much needed new perspective.

Just being heard regardless of any feedback is a terrific experience.

Imagine for a minute what it must be like for someone with dementia or Alzheimer's as they struggle to communicate and navigate their daily lives. Surely they would love and deserve someone to truly pay attention to what they were saying.

As my mom's symptoms of dementia became worse I noticed she would get increasingly agitated about things as her verbal and memory skills declined. She had been a proud and independent woman all her life and spoke her mind. So as her disease took over and she became less and less able to speak her mind clearly she must have been so upset and frustrated. (Read this helpful article on Alzheimer's http://thecarecenters.com/ar/things-to-know-about-alzheimer-disease)

I began to work on my listening skills. I realized I could hear her in different ways. I could check her body language for signals, pay attention to the tone of her voice and try and de-code what might seem like inappropriate or confused phrases or sentences.

There was meaning in there somewhere and as I practiced patience and approached her assuming she was trying to say something important I noticed she became less agitated when we were with each other. I think the simple fact that I did not write her off or dismiss her attempts to engage me in some type of communication made her feel better. I was a good listener and she felt she was being heard. (Read this informative article

http://thecarecenters.com/ar/understanding-the-five-stages-of-dementia)

So pay attention to how and what your loved ones are doing and saying even if it seems confusing or hard to understand. Treat the exchange as though something truly worthwhile and important is being said. Be a really good listener and you will be surprised by what you hear.


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About the author: Susanne White

Susanne White is a former music industry executive.

She graduated from Cabrini College, PA with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology and received her PhD in Life Studies from the College of the Seat of Her Pants.

She was blessed with the opportunity to care for her parents and ventured out on a journey that would change her life. She blogs about this journey on her site caregiverwarrior.com and shares her experience, strength and hope with others so that they too may survive caregiving with grace and empowerment.

Follow her on Twitter @caregivewarrior