Over the two weeks that my mother-in-law visited with us, I was reminded of some great advice I got from a radio expert: “They will forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.” The quote is attributed to Maya Angelou.
My mother-in-law is hard of hearing. On the car ride here, her ears got clogged, which made it almost impossible for her to hear anything for a few days. When this happened in the past, my brother-in-law would get very frustrated if she didn’t remember something he told her. It’s possible that she never heard him in the first place.
When my mother-in-law seemed anxious or confused, my wife and I made her feel comfortable with our tone of voice and eye contact. When talking with her, I used a loud voice like I do when I’m on stage with Einstein Simplified. I also used gestures and exaggerated facial expressions to help her understand what I was trying to convey.
I also noticed that she was more relaxed and comfortable when I switched from high-def TV shows to old black-and-white movies on TCM. Among other movies, we watched “To Be or Not to Be” and “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.” I should also give some credit to the coffee and Christmas cookies we shared while watching the movies.