From active listening to “healthy communication”
Another point to consider if you want to effectively communication and create positive relationships is that you need to actively listen.
“I’m here listening to you, I’m interested in you and what you will say; you are at the center and not me, with my thoughts, my hypotheses, my expectations and prejudices; what you are and what you say is important to me! “
The ability to listen actively is very important to trigger a valid communication style. Listening actively means: assuming a series of behaviours with which we communicate to the interlocutor that we are considering him/her and that we intend to understand him/her.
Tips for effective active listening:
The capacitative approach
The capacitative approach is a method that is based on listening to and consequently recognising the skills that the sick elderly person retains rather than on the deficits.
Focusing on the needs of the resident in relation to his/her stage of illness remains fundamental to care planning, but can have negative repercussions on the elderly person him-/herself and his/her quality of life because he/she too will adapt to the role as a sick person, now only in need of care, and will feel increasingly inadequate.
The capacitative approach invites practitioners to bring out and enhance the competences that are still present. Example: the elderly person forgets everything, but can still speak, we give him the possibility to do so even if we do not communicate.
The elderly person will then be able to perceive him-/herself again as a person who is able to do things.
Some considerations for the successful application of this method:
– competence to speak: as far as possible
– competence to communicate: in their own way
– emotional competence: picking up and recognising signs of emotion
– competence to bargain/decide: let them express their will and recognise it as such (even if they cannot always be satisfied)