Wednesday Workshop – What to Do When your Loved One Refuses Help
Hello and welcome to our Wednesday Workshop. As caregivers, we’ve all had times when our loved one is unwilling to do something that we want them to do. This can be described as “resistance” or “refusal”. These are the times when we really need to look for the hidden message behind the words. Why are they refusing? Rather than expecting your loved one with dementia to follow our wishes, maybe we should be focusing on how we can collaborate with theirs.
When a loved one with dementia is resistant it may be because:
- They don’t understand what’s being asked of them
- The request does not fit with his/her preferences
- They are feeling bossed around and want to keep a sense of control
- They don’t trust you
Every individual tends to live by a set of routines – whether they’re imposed by necessity or by choice. Routines give us structure and a sense of comfort. A person with dementia may refuse to live by a routine that doesn’t match their own. Caregivers should be flexible enough to fit in with your loved one’s routine.
When it comes to personal care the resistance and refusal from your loved one may be almost too much to handle. Personal care is a very intimate task and most people want their privacy. Forcing a person with dementia to accept personal care can constitute abuse since it’s a human right to say “no”. On the other hand, neglecting your loved one’s personal care can also be abusive since the person’s health may be put at risk. Therefore, it’s essential that we understand what the reason is for your loved one’s refusal.
Finding alternative ways to provide personal care may do the trick. Find out as much as possible about the person’s lifestyle and preferences. Then try to adapt to his/her routine! Offer a bath instead of a shower. Try playing some soft music in the background.
Remember, your loved one may refuse help from some caregivers and not others. This is likely a result of the type of approach used and the quality of the shared relationship. If your loved one is resistant towards you, it may be that person’s way of saying, “I don’t know who you are”, “I don’t trust you right now”, “I don’t understand”, “I’m embarrassed” or “You’re going too fast for me.”
To address this resistance give a clear explanation about the task and what you want to accomplish so your loved one feels reassured. Make sure you are working at their pace and not your own. And finally, work on building a closer relationship with the individual.
If your loved one’s health or safety could be harmed by their refusal to do something, then it’s particularly important that we seek to understand the reasons and address the person’s underlying needs.
To learn more or to speak with us here at the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center
Feel free to call us at (877) 760-9199 or email us below. Thanks for watching today’s Wednesday Workshop and we’ll see you again next week!