When an elderly relative can no longer take care of themselves, they often move in with an adult child or another relative who becomes their family caregiver. Taking on the responsibility of elderly care can be both rewarding and challenging. One of the most frustrating aspects that many caregivers face is that they experience argumentative behavior from the senior.
Even if they’ve had an excellent relationship before, constant caregiving can create all kinds of tension. Family caregivers need to learn how to handle argumentative behavior so that they can preserve the relationship and encourage actual communication.
Know the Emotions Behind an Argument
Family caregivers and elderly relatives often argue over things that are related to health, wellness, grooming, and hygiene. They may also argue over finances, a change in caregiving needs, pain management, and even meals. Caregivers need to put themselves in the senior’s place to figure out why they are resisting. Often, it’s because the caregiving actions signal a loss of independence or prove that they are no longer capable. It may trigger feelings of fear concerning growing old and all that it means. Knowing that it is hard to face change related to age and also to admit they need help may help caregivers understand the motives to the arguments.
Don’t Engage in Arguments
Many family caregivers have learned that choosing to not engage is often the best way to diffuse an argument with an elderly person. They make the choice to simply stop talking to the elderly person when they become argumentative. They may sit silently or say that they are leaving the room for a while. Caregivers may even take a break and leave the house when the home care assistant or other family member arrives.
If the elderly person insists on arguing anyhow, caregivers can remind them about their behavior. Sometimes people get wrapped up in being right or making their point that they don’t realize they are saying mean things or raising their voice. If the family member doesn’t correct or criticize, but simply points out that the behavior is not acceptable, it can take some of the blusters out of a senior’s argument.
Work on Better Communication
When family caregivers want to avoid arguments, they pick their battles. If there’s an issue that doesn’t affect health or safety, they can choose to let it go and let their aging parent think they are right. If it is something that signals a change is needed, they should pick a good time of the day to talk. Both parties should be rested and calm rather than anxious or stressed.
In the end, it takes two to argue, and fighting isn’t worth destroying a good relationship. If there is something important that the family caregiver and the elderly person cannot see eye to eye on, one or both parties should make the effort to resolve it without a big struggle. It won’t be easy to handle argumentative behavior, but with effort, it can be done.
Are you or a loved one considering Elder Care in Herriman, UT? Please talk to the friendly staff at December Rose Senior Care at Home. Providing Home Care in Highland, Utah and Surrounding Communities.
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