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  • Writer's pictureTroyer & Good, PC

Overcoming Resistance From Your Senior to Elder Care

As our senior loved ones age, it may become increasingly difficult for you to tell them what to do. Perhaps because they do not understand or because of the loss of independence, they can be resistant to the care they need. This resistance can make the senior upset or even aggressive toward the caregiver. What can you do to help your senior get the care he needs and overcome his resistance?

Try Again Later

Sometimes the best solution is to try again later. Distract your senior with something he enjoys and then return to the task at hand. You may find that your senior is ready and less resistant. Try to talk calmly to your senior and have everything ready to go for the task so it can speed up the process. Being prepared will go a long way in being successful.

Stay Calm

Being frustrated or upset will only serve to frustrate your senior. He will likely resist an angry attitude more so than a calm demeanor. Use a calm and clear voice with a smile so that you can help him better. If you try to understand what is behind his resistance (such as being sad, scared, or in pain), you can react in a way that better soothes him.

Work Together

Let your senior do as much as he can alone or with your assistance. Working together will help your senior retain some independence and still feel in control. When this is not possible, be patient, calm, and kind. These qualities go a long way in reducing your senior's resistance to your care.

There are several areas of care that your senior may be resistant to receiving. Some of these areas are addressed below.

Dental Care

Some seniors don't remember to brush their teeth, don't remember how to brush their teeth, or simply don't want to do it. When someone else (other than a trained hygienist) tries to brush your teeth, it can be uncomfortable or even painful. This can lead to your senior resisting or even fighting back by spitting or biting. In order to overcome this resistance, try to let your senior do as much for themselves as they can. Offer instructions and words of encouragement as they brush or as you aid them in brushing. Be mindful of when you help him brush. It may not be the best time if he just woke up or is ready for a nap. Choose a time when he is in a good mood and more alert.

Home Care Providers

Your senior may be resistant to having strangers in his home to care for him. Discuss with your senior why the caregivers are needed. Help him understand the importance of having caregivers and reassure him that the caregiver is skilled and trustworthy. Introduce the new caregiver to your senior and let them spend some time together before the personal care starts. This way your senior will feel more at ease and the caregiver will seem less like a stranger.

Safety Warnings

As your senior ages, some of the things he used to do may no longer be safe. Tasks such as driving, operating power tools, or cooking can be dangerous to the senior and to those around him. Telling your senior that he can no longer do those tasks can be very difficult. Your senior may be afraid of losing his independence, and he may not understand that he is no longer able to do those tasks safely. Despite this resistance, it is important for caregivers to take action to keep their senior loved ones safe. You may need to take away the keys, unplug the stove, or remove power tools from the house. Understanding why your senior is reacting this way can help you be empathetic.

Although the resistance from your senior may be difficult and sometimes frustrating, it is worth the effort to help them be safe and healthy. These tips can help ease tensions and promote happier relationships.


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