People want to be heard and understood. Period. It sounds simple, but so many people don’t realize just how vital this basic need is at all ages. We all need to feel like someone is listening and gets it. And seniors are no different.
Seniors have their unique needs and often need assistance, and as decent people we want to help. However, often, the best help we can give is giving them the gift of feeling understood.
No, not everyone is a therapist, and many times concrete assistance is called for. But more often than it seems, seniors can really benefit from feeling understood and heard.
So, what can we do to to show some more understanding? Here are two ideas.
Listening isn’t easy. Yes, it seems to be pretty simple, but there’s a difference between easy and simple, and there’s also a difference between listening and hearing. Many of us hear other people, but far fewer of us actually listen.
Listening is simple. It means putting what your doing aside, bringing your attention back from wherever it is currently at, and putting your focus on the person speaking to you. It means listening to what is being said and what is not. Listening requires you to allow people to speak what’s on their minds and hearts without interjecting or interrupting no matter how much you want to talk. Pretty simple, right? But it’s not easy.
We feel understood when we feel like we are taken seriously. Taken someone seriously means considering what they have to say and putting aside the voice that says, ‘I know better.’ You don’t have to necessarily agree with them but you don’t ever dismiss their point of view.
Is there a time you remember that you allowed a senior to feel understood?
Please share in the comments below.