Being a caregiver for a senior citizen can be extremely frustrating for both the caregiver and the person being taken care of. Sometimes there’s just an unprecedented disconnect for whatever reason, and it can be misperceived as bullying.
One contributor with AARP opened up about his experience being a caregiver who unintentionally ‘bullied’ the person he was caring for. After realizing what he was doing, he took a step back to analyze the situation and come up with ways to motivate a senior citizen to follow plans without feeling bullied or pushed around.
Do not put tasks above the relationship
It’s important to detect what are front-burner tasks and back-burner tasks. Some tasks need to be accomplished no matter what, such as administering daily medications, in which case the caregiver should be very firm about completing the task. For back-burner tasks that don’t have a level of importance compared to front-burner tasks, however, the caregiver should be willing to shift plans and accommodate what the patient is desiring.
Develop proper approaches and strategies
There’s a certain way that all caregivers should approach their patients in order to make sure the relationship is not severed and that everything is going according to plan. Most patients will respond positively to a gentle, caring tone, but it really is all based on the personality of the patient—and their mood, because your go-to approach is bound to change based on the day.
Feedback is important
Be sure to clarify with the patient that they are being treated the way they wish to be treated. It’s easy for them to misinterpret your help for something else, so it’s always a good idea to check in and make sure that you’re both on the same page. The answer you receive should always be taken seriously and into high consideration, even if it means changing your overall demeanor and approach to care. It’s always helpful to ask outside sources for feedback as well.
Be aware of bullying behaviors
It’s important to remember that caregiving isn’t about forcing someone to do something, no matter what it takes. It’s about caring. It’s easy for someone to use sheer force on a patient if they find that it makes the person comply with plans. This ties into the first tip; stop and reconsider the task at hand. Bullying and force can never be justified.
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Check out the video below on one woman’s personal experience with a dedicated caregiver while being a quadriplegic and being diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.
This story originally appeared at Do You Remember by Jane Kenney.