5 Tips for Managing Stubbornness in an Aging Loved One with Dementia

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Taking care of seniors with dementia isn’t just about reminding them of the date and helping them recall past memories. The reality is that dementia caregiving may mean you end up arguing with your senior loved one when he or she stubbornly refuses to do basic things like eat or get dressed. Dementia can shift personality traits and exacerbate behavioral issues, so almost all caregivers should expect to encounter a little stubbornness occasionally. Here are five ways to address stubbornness without upsetting your loved one further.

1. Stay Calm

Try to keep your voice even and your facial expressions neutral. Any indication of conflict or anger is most likely going to make your loved one become even more stubborn. It can be challenging to remain calm, but it’s important to remember the conflict isn’t personal. Even if your loved one’s anger seems directed at you, remind yourself it’s just the dementia, not his or her true feelings. 

Professional caregivers with training and expertise in dementia care can often identify the sources of behavior issues and respond effectively and compassionately. Even when families have the best intentions, caring for a senior loved one with dementia can be challenging. Fortunately, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a leading provider of dementia care. Rowlett families can take advantage of our flexible and customizable care plans, and our caregivers always stay up to date on the latest developments in senior care.

2. Provide Choices

Stubbornness is often about trying to maintain independence. Though you’re trying to do your best to provide good care, your loved one may feel like he or she is being bossed around and get resentful. A good way to help seniors with dementia feel more independent is to offer choices instead of asking “yes or no” questions or telling them what to do. For example, try asking your loved one to pick between two shirts instead of simply saying he or she has to put on a shirt.

3. Rephrase the Question

Sometime seniors with dementia aren’t trying to be stubborn—they’re just saying no because they’re confused, scared, and don’t understand what’s going on. You may be able to reduce stubbornness just by calming your loved one’s fears. Try to rephrase how you ask a question, and include hand and facial gestures to elaborate on what you’re trying to get him or her to do. 

A trained caregiver with experience in caring for seniors with dementia can be a fantastic resource for family members. Families looking for top-rated Rowlett home care service providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

4. Distract and Try Again

Seniors with dementia may be easily distracted, and you can use this trait to combat stubbornness. If you have a little time, switch gears by offering a snack, turning on the television, or singing a favorite song. Once your loved one’s mind is off the subject of the conflict, try bringing it up again.

5. Consider Comfort

Oftentimes, seniors with dementia may get upset and seem belligerent because they don’t know how to handle something that’s bothering them. If you notice unusual amounts of stubbornness in your loved one, think about whether he or she needs food, a drink, a bathroom trip, or pain medication. Consider the room he or she is in and think about whether it might be too loud, cold, hot, busy, or bright.

If your loved one has dementia and becomes stubborn, these suggestions can help you gain understanding and manage his or her care more effectively. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Rowlett Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. Home Care Assistance will work with you to customize a care plan that’s just right for your loved one’s needs. If you need compassionate, professional dementia care for your loved one, call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (972) 722-7833.