We default to emails and texting nowadays for their convenience. However, that convenience often comes at a price. For caregivers, when emotions are running high and stress levels increase, only using text/emails can cause miscommunications. With this type of communication, it is so easy to run into issues, as many things get lost in translation without the proper context. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of these potential problems and consider alternative methods of communication.
The Problem of Sending Texts and Emails between Caregivers
Caregivers can experience communication issues because texts/emails:
1. Do not allow for inflection or tone in the message. A simple statement can be read as rude, forceful, inconsiderate and many other emotions because the intended tone did not accompany the text or email. How we say something and how we write something can be read and heard very differently. The message can be misinterpreted, as well as disseminated to others allowing for each person’s own interpretation.
2. The sender and receiver are not familiar with each other’s style of writing. Differences in age, background, culture, etc. can impact both how a person writes and interprets a message. Some people will take a formal approach to emails and texts, while others are comfortable using jargon, acronyms, and other terms unfamiliar with the other party without explanation. Also, like in #1 above, a short and sweet style of writing for one person can be interpreted as curt for another. Not knowing each other’s style can lead to misunderstanding without knowing it.
3. Delays in receiving the information. Not everyone checks his or her text messages or inbox at the same pace. In many cases, people may become frustrated if others have a slower response time. This can become a touchy issue, especially with group threads. Tracing back the message from start to finish depending on how active you are on your email or texts can be confusing, which can lead to tension and miscommunication.
4. Sending the right or wrong message to the wrong person. We have all done it at some point – sent a text to the wrong person. In this case the message was benign with no private content. Unfortunately, sending emails and texts comes with mistakes and selecting the wrong name in the drop down or in your email can and does happen. This can push a message that has private information to the wrong person. You can still send the “oops” message back but in some cases the damage has already been done. In addition, if the problem isn’t corrected it could lead to messages not being received, which could have dire consequences for caregivers.
5. Message overload. Texts and emails make it quick and easy to send many messages all at once. However, this overload of information can sometimes be overwhelming and disorienting.
As a caregiver, you need to establish an understanding with everyone involved and an agreement with everyone how best to communicate with each other. There are many ways to coordinate and communicate with your family and loved ones so you need to be aware of the potential communication issues that caregivers experience using texts and emails.
The good news is that you don’t have to figure this out on your own. Caring Village makes it easy to coordinate care in real time using your own personalized village of family members, neighbors, friends, and care professionals who want to help– whether near or far. To find out more, click here.