5 Tips on Helping Stubborn Aging Loved Ones

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Caregiving is never easy, but it can be especially difficult when your senior loved one is stubborn or unwilling to receive aid. Thankfully, there are ways to help a stubborn senior. Here are five tactics caregivers can use when confronted with stubborn behavior. 

1. Remain Positive

When communicating with a stubborn senior, becoming visibly distressed only adds to the negative atmosphere. Whenever possible, try to remain calm and positive. Always discuss the assistance you provide in positive terms. Don’t make your loved one feel like a nuisance, as this could encourage him or her to act out. Instead, describe everyday duties in upbeat language. Try complimenting the food at mealtimes, and provide positive reinforcement as your loved one gets dressed.

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2. Choose Battles Wisely

Sometimes, seniors can’t be talked out of a bad mood. In some cases, it’s better to allow them to process their negative emotions on their own. Instead of turning minor issues into major battles, try to understand your loved one’s point of view. While the behavior might not be logical, especially if it’s influenced by dementia or Alzheimer’s, your loved one is entitled to his or her emotions. If an issue doesn’t affect your loved one’s health or wellbeing, you can choose to let it go. 

3. Use the “Three Tries” Rule

Caregivers should try to coax stubborn seniors three times before giving up. With each new request, vary your wording slightly so your loved one is more likely to comply. For example, if you want your loved one to eat vegetables, start by simply saying, “Please eat these green beans.” If the first request is unsuccessful, switch tactics. Something like, “Remember how much you used to love green bean casserole?” might be more effective. As a last resort, you can try bribery. “If you eat these green beans, we can watch your favorite movie before you go to sleep.”

4. Don’t Ask Yes or No Questions

When caregivers ask yes or no questions, it’s easy for seniors to decline. Instead of presenting questions in yes or no terms, offer options. Instead of saying, “Will you eat your green beans?” say, “Would you rather have green beans or carrots with dinner tonight?” 

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5. Treat Your Loved One Like an Adult

When seniors sense they’re being treated like children, they often act out. Allow your loved one to retain a greater level of autonomy, and the stubborn behavior may decrease. Treat your aging parent like an adult by respecting his or her emotions and decisions. Being patronizing is rarely persuasive. Your loved one is more likely to respond positively to love and respect.

As your loved one faces new challenges and age-related changes, he or she may accept some forms of care and refuse others. Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care Fort Worth, Texas, seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver. To learn about our premier in-home care plans, give Home Care Assistance a call at (817) 349-7599 today.