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Senior Caregiving Tips: How to Avoid Crossing the Line From Motivation to Bullying

Senior Caregiving Tips: How to Avoid Crossing the Line From Motivation to Bullying

As a family caregiver, you likely encounter a range of feelings throughout the day: shared laughter over a joke with a senior loved one; anxiety over a health concern; and certainly, at times, irritations. We would like only the best for those we love, so when an older adult is resistant to doing something we know is best, it may be challenging to identify the best reply. 

The key is to try to supply motivation and support, while remaining vigilant not to cross the line into bullying the senior. These tips are good to remember:

  • There is no one-size-fits-all. A strategy that has worked during one occasion may very well be entirely ineffective in another. In the event that the person does not want to take a bath, for example, you could choose to instead let the matter go and attempt again another time. Or, maybe reframing bath time into a soothing spa activity will hold additional appeal. Including humor may work well one day, while using a kinder, softer tone of voice may be the answer on another. Having multiple approaches at the ready can really help lower irritation for both of you.
  • Encourage your loved one to remain in control. Have a heart-to-heart conversation with the senior during a relaxed, peaceful moment to obtain feedback on how the caregiving relationship is going, and what he or she would like to see changed. It’s essential to then take to heart the senior's suggestions and integrate it into your caregiving approach. 
  • Be cautious of incremental bullying. While we certainly would never set out to bully a senior into conformity, it is conceivable to steadily move from support and motivation into pushiness and forcefulness without noticing it. Take a truthful examination of your tendencies in speaking with the one you love, and then make a plan to improve upon them if necessary.
  • Keep in mind the overarching priority. Above and beyond the many tasks required in providing care for a loved one, maintaining a healthy, happy and fulfilling relationship with one another is vital. If you learn that the frustrations of providing care are outweighing the rewards for either of you at any time, there’s always the possibility of looking into different care options, enabling you to place your focus on spending quality time together with the older adult you love.

Amy’s Helping Hands , the Windsor-Essex home care leader, is the perfect partner for family caregivers. Our caregiving staff are fully trained and skilled in the multiple areas of senior home care, and will supply the assistance family members need to preserve healthy relationships with those they love. Contact us at 519.915.4370 and request an in-home consultation to discover the difference respite care can make both in a senior’s total wellbeing and yours.


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