Many elderly people who are in the early stages of dementia will refuse to accept help. This can be frustrating and dangerous.
However, denying their condition will only make things worse for them and the rest of the family. Here are some tips to help you deal with their resistance:
Refusing help with personal care is a common symptom of dementia. It can be frustrating, but it’s important to remain patient. This is because it takes time to do things, and your loved one may not remember that. If you rush them, they will likely become agitated and frustrated and may even resist further attempts to assist them.
In some cases, dementia patients refuse to cooperate because they are in pain or discomfort. They can be experiencing symptoms like shortness of breath, hunger, or feeling hot, cold, or tired. They may also have an untreated infection, which can make it difficult to think clearly and follow directions.
Another reason your loved one might be reluctant to accept assistance is their fear. Losing their independence is frightening, and they may feel angry or upset at the fact that they can no longer do what they once could. Refusing your help can be a way for them to retain some semblance of control so they don’t have to admit that their abilities are fading.
A person who has dementia may not recognize that they have a condition such as Alzheimer’s disease. This can be due to denial, or it can be a result of the damage that dementia can cause to a person’s brain. This lack of self-awareness is called anosognosia, which can be very difficult for family caregivers.
If a person with dementia refuses to take their medication, it is important to be patient. They may not understand what you are telling them or what the medicine is for, so it’s important to explain it in a way that they can understand it. Attempting to force them to take their medicine can be abusive, and waiting until they are ready to accept it is best. They might need to be reminded several times before they are willing to comply. This is why it’s important to be patient and to have a good relationship with the person you are helping.
The first step in assisting a patient who refuses dementia care is to stay calm and remember that they’re not being difficult on purpose. They’re struggling with the symptoms of their condition and need your help to overcome them. It’s also important to remember that you’re not alone in this and can ask for help if needed.
Trying to force a person with dementia who is refusing care will only make them more upset and resistant. Instead, try to find a way to work around their refusal and gently encourage them to do what you want. This could be as simple as asking them to come out with you for a walk or serving them food that’s easier to handle, such as pasta rather than meat or vegetables.
People with dementia are often confused and may not understand why you’re asking them to do something. This can be due to a change in routine or the fact that they don’t recognize familiar faces. It’s important to explain what you’re doing and why, using short sentences if possible and asking simple questions. This will allow them to understand and follow your instructions.
You can try to motivate them by reminding them of how much better their quality of life will be with your assistance. Reassure them that their GP will know how to best help them and that you’ll be there to support them every step of the way. Alternatively, you can also try to convince them that going to see their doctor is a personal favor that will benefit them in the long run.
Medication is sometimes a problem when dealing with dementia patients who are refusing care. They commonly do not take their medications because they don’t believe they need them or forget what they’re for. Providing clear explanations of the medication – including images and symbols if necessary – each time it’s offered will help them to become more comfortable taking their tablets.
You can also try camouflaging their medications to make them more appealing, such as giving them bubblegum or cherry-flavored medicine. This is a helpful technique used by many health professionals and can be an effective way of getting them to take their medication.
Don’t rush them.
Dementia is an all-encompassing disease that can make people forget things, lose track of time and place, and sometimes feel like they are in a different body. It can also cause them to become angry, frustrated, and even violent. This type of behavior is often a sign that your loved one is struggling with an underlying issue, and the best way to determine what that may be is by talking to their doctor.
If your elderly loved one becomes aggressive, it is important to know that it is not their fault and that they are trying to communicate something. Their aggressive behavior is typically caused by a combination of their emotions and a misinterpretation of what they see, hear, or read. If you can, try to calm the environment by turning down the music or TV and removing any dangerous items from their sightline. Singing an old favorite song, humming soothing music, or talking in a calm voice can also help to soothe them and bring their mood back down to a manageable level.
Their aggression or agitation could be due to pain, hunger, thirst, feeling hot or cold, or being overtired. Asking them multiple questions and letting them answer in their own way can help you find out what they need. Try to avoid medicines that can worsen dementia, such as sleep aids with diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or medicines for urinary urgency, like oxybutynin (Ditropan XL).
You might also be able to reduce their agitation by limiting food and drink to certain times of the day or feeding them through a tube in their stomach. You can also limit or remove foods and drinks that are difficult to swallow, as chewing and swallowing can become very difficult for a person with dementia, causing them to choke or inhale liquids into the lungs, which could lead to pneumonia.
If non-drug techniques do not help or if the challenging behavior is causing you or your family members significant stress, you should consider working with your doctor to carefully experiment with medications. For example, some antipsychotics may help with agitation and confusion. These include aripiprazole (Abilify), haloperidol (Haldol), olanzapine (Zyprexa) and quetiapine (Seroquel).
Ask them for help.
Many people who have dementia struggle to accept that they need help with things like bathing, dressing, and eating. This is because they’ve spent decades living independently, and it can be hard to let go of that lifestyle once their dementia has advanced to the point where it becomes unsafe or difficult for them to continue to live alone.
Pride is another common reason why dementia patients refuse to seek assistance. When a person feels their independence is being taken away from them, they will often fight back by refusing your help or acting out. If you can understand the underlying reasons behind your loved one’s refusal, you may be able to work out a solution that will meet their needs in a way that doesn’t make them feel like they are losing their independence.
You can take some practical steps to ease the situation, such as creating a daily schedule with set times for activities (waking up, getting dressed, eating, visiting friends, etc.). Keeping this routine can help the person stay more oriented and comfortable, as they will know what to expect throughout the day. Also, try to keep rooms and outdoor spaces free of clutter and obstacles that could cause someone to trip or hurt themselves. Remove rugs and curtains that have busy patterns that can confuse a person and hide or lock cleaning and other products that could be dangerous.
In some cases, your family member may need to be hospitalized to get the medical help they need. If this is the case, discuss the situation with them in private before the hospital visit and ask for a doctor specializing in Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diseases. Also, be sure to ask for an appointment in a room where the person can hear and see you to reduce their anxiety and confusion.
Caring for a loved one with dementia can be a long and emotionally exhausting process. If you are struggling to cope, consider seeking support from a professional caregiving service that can provide you with the time and energy to give your loved one the best possible care. You can also find a local caregiving support group that can connect you with others who are in the same situation as you and who can offer valuable advice and guidance.