Understanding Love Languages for Effective Communication with SeniorsAugust 4, 2023
When one hears the phrase “love languages,” one likely thinks about the way one prefers to interact with one’s significant other. However, the truth of the matter is that love languages are so much more than that. Brought to popularity by Dr. Gary Chapman, the five love languages refer to some of the most common ways people prefer to give and receive affection. Whether you’re caring for an elderly loved one or simply want to show them you care, understanding love languages for effective communication with seniors will be greatly beneficial to your everyday life.
What are love languages?
Though the ways one interprets their love languages may look different from person to person, they are still broken down into five categories. These include:
- Acts of service. People who value this love language above others deeply appreciate when someone goes out of their way to help. These can be small gestures, such as taking out the trash, or larger gestures like driving them to the airport before a flight.
- Words of affirmation. Those who value words of affirmation feel most supported when you verbally tell them how much you mean to them. These individuals also appreciate when you thank them for completing a task or for showing support.
- Quality time. Offering your loved one your undivided attention when you spend time together is most important to those who value quality time. If you can’t meet face-to-face, phone calls do the trick too.
- Physical touch. Sometimes, all we need is a hug or a touch of the arm to show how much we matter. This is precisely how those who value physical touch most feel.
- Receiving gifts. This love language is less about the item they receive and more about how you thought of your loved one outside of your interaction. Even something as simple as an impromptu chocolate bar can make your loved one’s day.
Why is it important to know my elderly loved one’s love language?
As your loved one ages, you may start to notice that certain things aren’t as easy for them as they used to be. Physical limitations can make maintaining their home difficult. They may struggle with what was once their favorite hobby. They may grow frustrated by forgetfulness which causes them to miss a medication reminder.
During these times, it is important you know what it is that makes your loved one feel happy and seen. If you know your loved one feels noticed when you spend quality time with them, you can increase the amount of time you spend together. Alternatively, if gifts help your loved one feel understood, you’ll know bringing them flowers will do wonders for their mood.
It’s important to know someone’s love language at any age, but especially when they are going through something. As seniors turn to a family caregiver for support, they may feel like a burden. This is far from the case, but it’s hard to not feel a little down when they can’t take care of themselves like they once did. Showing your loved one that you care, even in some of the simplest ways.
If you don’t know what the elderly adult in your life’s love language is, the best thing you can do is ask. What is it that makes them feel special? Does a hug make all the difference? Does receiving gifts make them uncomfortable? Do they appreciate it when you take care of chores? Are they unsettled by compliments? If you’re still not sure what the answer is, you could even have them take a love language quiz. Observing their response to different forms of communication can also help you identify their primary love language.
Communication is key
No matter their love language, communication is crucial. Both communicating verbally and non-verbally can tell you a great deal about your loved one’s needs. Listen to them as they discuss their needs and concerns, but also watch how their expression or body language changes as they speak. Your tone of voice can completely change the meaning of your words.
Engaging with an older adult’s love language is a fantastic way to communicate how much you care, which is great for their mental health.
Love languages in home care
In the context of home care, incorporating love languages into the caregiver-client relationship can significantly improve the overall well-being of seniors. By speaking their love language, you can create an environment of trust, respect, and emotional connection. This allows caregivers to create a more nurturing and supportive environment for their clients.
Home Care Powered by AUAF recognizes the importance of effective communication. Our caregivers are trained to listen, observe, and adapt their communication style to meet the individual needs of each client. Their unparalleled dedication and compassion helps seniors recognize they are in good hands. That peace of mind is valuable.
If you’re curious about how a caregiver could benefit your or a loved one’s quality of life, give us a call at 773-274-9262. We would be happy to discuss our services with you.
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