If you are a personal caregiver in assisted living, you may have come across grumpy seniors who are suspicious of everyone around them, trust no one and are difficult to handle. As a caregiver, your job is to ensure that they are well looked after, fed and cared for. So how can you win the trust of elderly people who make it a point to be difficult? The following are some of the tips that you can try out:
- Find out why the person is uneasy: Getting to the root of the problem is essential if you wish to win their trust and befriend them. Caretakers are as much counselors as they are nurses in many cases. Seniors are already in a vulnerable state and this can have a profound psychological impact. It is important to be patient until they open up.
- Find a solution: The person might behave in such an odd manner because they are physically limited, and may consider your presence to be an intrusion to their privacy. Refuse to cooperate is often a defense mechanism. Instead of losing your patience, talk to their children or loved ones and see how the situation can be improved. What motivates the defensiveness? What would this person consider to be a mark of trustworthiness in others?
- Be there: Sometimes, the mere fact that you are simply there for them and listen while they complain will send across the message that their insecurities are overblown – that you really do care. Slowly they will start noticing your presence and will appreciate having an ally.
- Surprise them: We all love to receive unexpected acts of kindness and affirmation. After you have spent few weeks with them, surprise them with a card or a small gift. Show them that they are loved and cared for. Organize a party for them with their loved ones. As people grow old they miss companionship, especially if they have seen the loss of their spouse or friends. Sadly, many seniors are unable to express this sense of loss and feel as though their caretakers couldn’t understand. Small tokens showing your appreciation of them can go a long way.
- Don’t Argue: No matter how impatient or ridiculous they are being, do not argue with a disgruntled senior. The more you try to reason with them the more they will consider it as a resistance. As we grow older, our brains begin to revert to a more childlike state, and yet we hold the memories of being fully-functional adults. Arguing points out this uncomfortable reality and may induce further challenges in gaining cooperation. As personal caregiver in assisted living you have to be the epitome of patience, understanding and adaptability.