Caring for Someone Who’s Not Very Nice

It’s tough being a Kansas City caregiver. Even harder to take care of someone who doesn’t seem to appreciate what you do for them, criticizes you, and/or is verbally or physically abusive.

Sometimes, people who require 24-hour senior care become angry and frustrated by their limitations, which causes them to lash out. People who have Alzheimer’s (or other form of dementia) tend to become verbally or physically aggressive, particularly during the later stages of illness. And some people are just plain mean to begin with.

Here are some tips that can help smooth things over:

Be patient. Try to determine the source of the anger. Is it frustration? Fear? Instead of fighting back, ask questions to see if you can determine why your loved one is lashing out. For a person with Alzheimer’s, look for any unmet needs (e.g., pain control, bathroom, excess noise).

Don’t argue. Some people who have to rely on others for their care are angry, so they go looking for a fight. Don’t give it to them. If you meet their anger with kindness, they may calm down. And arguing with someone who has dementia is pointless. They don’t see things the same way you do.

Don’t bend over backwards. There are some people you just can’t please. And going over and above may make them even meaner. So know your limits and stick to them.

Accept what you can’t change. If you’ve tried your best to make your loved one happy and nothing seems to be working, just ignore the bad behavior (unless it’s abusive). Instead of fighting back, let the criticism roll off you. It can’t spoil your day if you don’t let it.

Take a break. If caring for a loved one at home is more difficult than you’d imagined (or if you just need some respite) enlist the help of a home health agency that provides Kansas City senior care (and/or Alzheimer’s and dementia services).

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