Caring for elderly parents, family members, and loved ones takes a toll on the caregiver, especially if the loved one becomes increasingly uncooperative. What do you do when your loved on resists care? How can you get them to take a bath, brush their teeth, change their clothes, and take medicine when they refuse? Here are a few things to keep in mind when caring for a resistant loved one.
1). Consider outside influences. As your loved ones grow older and sometimes lose mental aptitude, listening to their non-verbal communication becomes even more important. Why are they resisting care? It could be from outside influences such as lighting, noise, temperature level, food and drink, and other causes. Be aware of the conditions surrounding your loved one and adjust them if they are uncomfortable.
2). Consider your attitude. You can easily become frustrated with a loved one who resists care, but that frustration can further irritate the patient. Yelling, expressing anger, or even showing disdain and impatience can affect your loved one. Before you say something, think about what you're going to say and how you're saying it.
3). Choose your battles. Your loved one probably won't continue doing things the way they always have. Elderly people often bathe less often, change clothes more infrequently, and change patterns of activity. Be sensitive to these changes and accept many of them. A full bath is not necessary each day and clothes that are not spoiled do not need to be changed daily.
4). Watch for subtle differences. As common as it is for patterns to change in the lives of elderly loved ones, certain changes can signal problems. If your loved one usually loves a certain activity but increasingly refuses to partake, something is wrong. If they refuse to get out of bed, check for illness or injuries/bruises from a fall. If they refuse to join family activities, look for outside noises, lights, distractions, or people that are deterring them from joining. If they refuse to perform routine activities, watch for depression. Help them perform daily tasks and encourage them to continue doing them on their own. If they refuse to take medication, read up on the possible side effects and watch for them in your loved one. If they refuse hygienic care, perhaps they are embarrassed. Make sure you two are alone when bathing/changing them, and talk of pleasant memories to distract them from the task. As your loved one enters a new time of changes, keep an eye out for subtle behavioral differences that could point to bigger problems.
5). Stay patient. Perhaps the best advice for those caring for irritable loved ones is to stay positive, patient, and loving. Even if they don't admit it, your loved one is scared about the changes they're facing. They don't know why certain things are happening, how to adjust to the changes, and what the future will hold. They don't need an impatient caretaker to further frustrate them, but need a kind loved one to assist them through this time.
Taking the extra time to care for a loved one might seem like an inconvenience and one that is especially difficult if your loved one is irritable, but realize that little things can be affecting their actions. Pay special attention to their non-verbal communication, and adjust your actions to better help them.
If you would like more information concerning caring for the elderly, contact Antelope Valley estate planning law firm Thompson Von Tungeln (TVT) at (661) 426-2499 or visit their website at www.EstatePlanningSpecialists.com.www.EstatePlanningSpecialists.com is a comprehensive online resource for Elder Law and related issues. As Board Certified Specialists in Estate Planning, Trusts and Probate as certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, partners Mark E. Thompson and Kevin L. Von Tungeln are expertly equipped to serve clients with the creative, effective and custom solutions they demand.
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