How to talk

How to talk

It isn’t always easy to get straight in your mind all the things you need to think about and what you need to say. You can use our guidelines and example scripts to help you structure your thoughts and improve your chances to get the results you need from conversations with others, such as your relatives, your boss or care services.

Use this page to learn how to be focused, precise, concise and structured in your dealings with others. This will make your life easier and help you to achieve more faster, on behalf of your elderly relative through being focused, precise, concise and structured in your dealings with others.

Some people seem to have a knack for getting the most from others: they are good at asking for – and getting – just what they want. They seem to have “the magic touch” when it comes down to persuading people to give them some extra help, to raise their priority, to get them a better room, a better table, a better seat, or a better bed. Others may find it awkward to ask for help, or they might not be as successful in securing the help they are requesting.

The first challenge for anyone who finds themselves in the position of needing to organise care for an elderly relative is to get their own thoughts in order.  That’s not always easy in the middle of a stressful situation with strong emotions involved. No matter how urgent the need, no matter how much you want to give vent to your feelings right away, first you must take stock. If you are not clear in your mind about what you want to achieve or you are not front of the right person, you are not going to be effective.

There is absolutely no point in asking for the wrong things from the wrong people. It is almost as counter-productive to speak to the right person but yet not be able to articulate yourself clearly. It’s not just about dealing with the staff in the hospital either: you will rapidly realise that you have a whole range of people who are involved, directly or indirectly, in your relative’s care. These people can all make things happen for you and can provide you with a variety of things, be that their time, funding, co-operation, space or understanding.

When you need to ask someone for help or action, there are some common approaches you can use to help make the conversation a successful one. It also helps to tailor your approach depending on who you are speaking with and their likely perspective.

At CareHound, we have done a lot of work with the help of Humanists UK to bring together a series of “scripts” for you to read, learn from and adapt for your own use.

Here are some general guidelines which should help you to communicate with everyone concerned: Advice applicable to all scenarios

There are five scripts in total:

1) talking with your elderly loved one ;
2) talking with your family;
3) talking to your employer;
4) talking to the medical profession and social workers ; and
5) talking to other professionals and service providers.

Our script for talking with your family is about helping your family members to realise the gravity of the situation, the burden you are carrying, and asking them for their understanding and to rally round. In the case of the elderly relative themselves, the script explores how you can be sensitive to how they are coping and feeling, while at the same time stating clearly your own concerns and thoughts.

Considering the wishes of your elderly loved one is vitally important; it is all about them, not about you.  You need to think very carefully about how you can be persuasive without being overbearing or controlling and how to handle objections without losing your patience or making matters worse.  persuading them of the need to, for example, agree to a Lasting Power of Attorney without getting caught in a “no”.

Our script on speaking to your employer helps you to make your boss aware, understanding and tolerant of your situation. The aim is to ensure they will not be hounding you to return to work and instead will grant you some flexibility when you it. You may need to request time off at short notice to meet doctors, local social care providers or others, for example.

Our script on talking to doctors and social workers aims to help you with getting them on your side and getting them to be clear themselves and listen to what you have to say. It will also help you to getting them to agree to actions, and to take them.

Our script on speaking to other professionals and service providers (e.g. lawyers, builders, therapists, etc.) is there to help you to get the best from them.