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Help with communication - Carers UK Forum

Help with communication

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At the moment, am not yet working as a carer, but I'm communicating with residents every day in a care home. I've some difficult situations every day as I just don't know what to answer to them... English isnt my first language and somehow I just find it hard to answer these,..

1. I say to a resident "good morning dear, how are you today?" and she answers "not so good, my legs hurts and my back is not good"... errr... me: ? any examples to answer?

2. Am discussing about something with a resident and maybe they're not feeling so well and they say something age-related like "you know am 94 years old already"... how to comment their age or answer in these kind of situations..

3. One resident has alzheimer and he's always saying how he's going to leave soon, and go home. And if I could help him to get ready and take outside.. He can't walk or do much by himself so a carer should help him.. so Is it bad if I say a carer will come and take you there later, so dont worry? Any better options? What if he can remember I've said that..and that what I said didnt happen...

4. One resident is blaming me going trough her wardrobe and that is not part of my job so I never touch her wardrobe. But she says she saw me doing it and shouts dont touch it, just do your job. How to answer to her in this situation?

Thank you for any help :- )
This site is for unpaid Carers, family usually.
I would like to say well done though, for thinking about the people you are working with, and how to respond.
I am sure that someone will be along later to give you other sites and people who may be able to help you.
All I can say is, you will be a very valued person if you continue to think about those you look after and respect their minds.
Good luck.

You say English is not your first language, how would you answer in your own language? What would you say in your first language? Perhaps if you think about that you could then translate it into English.

There are no prescriptive response to these questions, every one that asks them is an individual in their own right. They have their own fears and ideas. Each one is looking for their own personal response, or the question might be rhetorical (one that does not require an answer).

I don't want to sound rude but, if you do not understand this fundamental philosophy of caring, pherhaps being a Carer is not really suited to you. I believe that you cant just rely on rhetoric, and lip service when caring for people.

Laudable though you intentions may be, I have to ask why you are considering becoming a 'professional carer'?
I find the question, not a little offencive.
Hi - I have to admire anyone who wants to work as a carer as it is hard work. Here on the Isle of Wight we have so many vacancies in care homes for the elderly as it does not seem a profession that appeals to many people. I do understand your problems in communication as my daughter-in-law is Latvian and she works in care homes - obviously the longer she lives here and works here the more her English improves and I have to admit that I would find the language she speaks at home (Russian) extremely difficult to learn, so I think most people will know that she is doing her best, as they will with you.
There seem to be a lot of regulations in care homes that have to be followed, but I am sure that you have a smile and a friendly word which is what is most needed by most elderly people.
My very best wishes , Thelma
Thank you for your answers.

I didn't meant to be offensive. It may be difficult to understand if you have not ever needed to be in an environment where people don't speak your mother language. I feel like am a different person when I speak English. I'm quiet, a bit scared and my head is just totally empty of thoughts. Which is a horrible feeling. I just feel very stupid! And I say things I don't mean. When I can speak my own language, I've no problem. I'm very talkative and clever. I used to study and do practical trainings in a care home and disability home in my country.

I've tried to translate sayings and words, but it's still not the same, as am not exactly sure if what am saying is correctly said, or if the meaning is not what I meant. That's why I asked for examples.

But I know at least I can make our residents make feel better, if not by what I say, but by what I do! and I get lots of good feedback from them. I've always smile on my face and I really have their well-being in my heart. All I just would like to do, is to improve my communication in English.
Think about what you would say to your grandmother/grandfather, if they asked the same or similar questions. Then ask a workmate if when you answer, you're saying it OK.
I see it as a problem trying to communicate in a language you are not confidant in, which is fair enough. I don't think it should be a problem knowing what you want to say, but how to say it. Do you have any access to learning English? Would your workmates help you?

I do admire and applaud, you for trying to work in an environment, when you may not understand all that is being said to you and so not knowing how to respond. I hope you would agree that it's vital that you do improve you English. I just don't think that learning a few phrases by rote and repeating them 'parrot' fashion will (in the long term) help you or the people you care for.

I do wish you luck with your efforts.
Also there is the added problem of accents and dialects, I know we've discussed them before on the forum.
I speak only english, but when I was nursing I looked after people who spoke only welsh, french or german, but we did alright, just as I did with people who had had strokes and did not speak at all. I don't think I upset anyone too much.
A friendly smile and caring nature go a long way and communicate a lot to the person/people you are caring for.
I'd say you can do all of the following regardless of your English:

1. Do not lie. Don't tell a patient someone will come if they won't. Explain the truth softly if needed or if you don't know say you don't know and offer to find out.

2. Listening is more important than talking. Sometimes people only want you to listen.

3. Body language is multi-lingual - pay attention to you body position - is it open? You are not crossing your arms? You are not frowning or appearing disinterested, you are not too close or far away.

4. You can say sorry even if something was not your fault if it calms someone.

5. Speak calmly - intonation or tone of voice accounts for 80% of an impression we form of someone, so the WAY we say things is much more important than WHAT we say.

Good luck