The act of being an engaged listener is an art form, it is a blessing for anyone of us to have someone simply listen to our worry, our pain, our joy. When someone is actively listening, they are making eye contact. Perhaps they are only saying a few words, not placing judgement or necessarily offering solutions. An engaged listener listens and hears from the from the heart and shares their space with the other putting all other distractions aside.

Being a good listener can make a difference in someone’s day. In my years working with older adults – I have always been drawn to sharing space with seniors as they give so much wisdom and are always eager to have someone listen to any moment in their day.  There is so much joy in being there to listen to what a senior has to say – we walk away with so much to learn and are reminded that they have so much to give.

It certainly takes practice to be an engaged listener and be certain not to cloud the space with too much commentary of our own.  Step back, put your own concerns to one side and participate in taking in all of what is being shared. Engaged listening helps to build stronger connections, can ease anxiety and we learn so much about our loved ones.

Remember the next time that you are visiting a loved one, be intentional with your time and make them feel that they are the only thing that matters.  We underestimate the positive impact that listening can provide – it is truly a gift to the person that needs to speak.,

Kimkitta Cariah-Butler
Director of Family Services

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