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3 Things To Do When Your Senior Will Not Listen to You

Aug 31, 2018 by Larry Morgan

Many of us find ourselves become disheartened or frustrated when we ask someone for a favor or to do something they should do, but their answer is, “No.”

It can be especially trying for caregivers who are asking their senior loved one to do something to help themselves, but they still come back with a “no.”

As flustered as you might get, it’s important to stop before you react. Here are some things to think through when this situation arises:

Consider Why They’re Acting This Way

While in the moment, you may feel like they are intentionally defying your requests or are being stubborn just for the sake of it, chances are, that’s probably far from the truth.

For example, if your senior has a neuro-degenerative condition like dementia, they could be confused by what you asked them to do.

Or, perhaps they understood you correctly, but they may feel embarrassed or upset because perhaps they’re unable to do what you asked. Them saying “no” is just a cover-up for this.

They could also be depressed. This could result in them acting out and thus being uncooperative, or perhaps they don’t have the energy or positivity to partake in what you asked.

All in all, they’re probably not denying your requests just to make you upset, and if they are, it’s for a hidden reason. Dig deep and try to figure out what’s going on instead of getting mad.

Pick and Choose Your Battles

Sometimes, it’s not even worth arguing with them when they tell you no. Perhaps what you asked them to do can wait, or maybe it’s just not that important at all. Are they refusing to take their multivitamin that they could probably go without? Maybe it’s not worth fighting over and forcing them to take it.

On the other hands, there are some things you will have to get done regardless of their cooperation. While they may get away with saying no to their multivitamin, taking important medications, for example, cannot be argued.

This being said, you can’t quite force them to do these things you want them to do if they’re being extra stubborn. Talk to their doctor about your concerns and ways you can get them to say no a little less. For example, perhaps you can find an alternative method of giving them their medication, like a liquid or a patch they wear on their skin.

Caregiving Can Get Difficult, and That’s Not Your Fault

There are a couple takeaways from this point.

For starters, your loved one is an adult, and they do have the right to make their own decisions. Will you disagree at times? Yes. Can they make life a little more difficult by not being cooperative with some things? Most definitely. However, this is similar to the relationship you may have with any other adult!

Secondly, don’t be hard on yourself for them telling you “no.” You cannot control everything in your own life, let alone another person’s. It’s good to be optimistic about your caregiving, but don’t expect everything to always go perfectly.

Lastly, if you’re feeling overly frustrated, know you’re not alone. There are people you can talk to and resources available for you to vent and get advice. Talk to a close friend or relative or join a support group for caregivers. You can even join one online, if that’s more comfortable for you. Having an outlet for your stress and receiving reassurance from others is incredibly important for keeping your cool and maintaining your amazing caregiving skills.

If you’re looking for help with your senior loved one, talk to your local Comfort Keepers. Their professional staff can help your loved one and give you a break, even if it’s just for a few hours a week.

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