How to Reduce Resistance and Refusal in Dementia Care

If your loved one is dealing with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, it’s likely that you’ve come across times your loved one didn’t want your help or didn’t want to do something they truly needed to do. As memory loss progresses, this can get worse, so it’s important to try to find other ways to cope and deal with their resistance and refusal. “It's important to not take your loved one's attitude personally,” says Jimmie Fay Griffin, Executive Director at YourLife™ of Tallahassee, a Memory Care Assisted Living community in Tallahassee, Florida. “Many times, they may not understand how they are acting or may be upset that they need assistance in the first place. This can cause them to become angry or agitated, leaving you frustrated or at a loss on how to help them. Understanding why your loved one is refusing to do things like take medication, get assistance when taking a bath or even receive help dining can make it easier to be patient and find new ways to cope with the symptoms of their dementia.”

Why Does My Loved One Refuse Help?

According to Everyday Health, there could be any number of reasons why seniors refuse or resist assistance. Some of the top reasons include:

  • The article states it may be difficult for your loved one with memory loss to accept you caring for them after they’ve been able to take care of themselves for so many years. They are used to being able to dress themselves and doing whatever they want to do on their own time, so it can be difficult for them to ask for help or allow you to.
  • Timing and changes in routine. When caring for a loved one with dementia, you need to plan for extra time to be taken to complete tasks. Completing a puzzle may take longer, completing daily routines may be more tedious. Be sure to be patient and take it easy. If an activity you planned will take longer than expected, perhaps plan to take two days on it. This can relieve some pressure and reduce the likelihood of them refusing to do the activity. If their routine is going to be interrupted, expect that there may be some kickback.
  • Your loved one with dementia may also be depressed, making it more likely they don’t want to do anything, especially care for their hygiene. If you think this is a factor, be sure to contact your loved one’s doctor, as certain antidepressants can help.
  • If they are in an area where there is too much noise, light that is too bright or is unfamiliar, they may also be more likely to refuse assistance and care. Try to keep them in a soothing environment to reduce the risk of overstimulation.

How Can I Reduce Resistance and Refusals?

The Everyday Health article also states that there are a few things you might be able to do to help reduce resistance from your loved one while helping you to discover new techniques for helping. Consider some of the following:

  • Assess your attitude and mindset. Before responding in a negative way to your loved one, try to take a small break. They may be refusing your help because they truly believe they can do it, and maybe they just need more time. Rushing them can make them feel like you don’t have confidence in them.
  • Adjust routines. Try to make things easier for your loved one and plan around their best time of day. If they are notoriously angry at night, make tasks easier for them to follow. Set out their toothbrush, their night clothes and medicines. Allowing them some extra independence can help lighten their mood rather than them refusing your help.
  • Consider medications. If nothing helps your loved one’s resistance and refusal for care, contact their doctor. Their medications may be interacting negatively or there may be a medicine that can help to combat these symptoms of memory loss.
  • Join a support group. Consider joining a support group to work through your feelings and learn techniques to better help your loved one. Leading memory care communities, such as YourLife™ of Tallahassee, offer monthly support groups for caregivers.

For more information about how to manage resistance and refusals in your loved one’s dementia care, contact the team at YourLife™ of Tallahassee. We would be happy to provide you with proven tips, support and even respite care so you can provide your loved one with the best care possible. Give us a call today at 850-250-5671.

Inspired ● Engaged ● Fulfilled

If someone you love is living with memory loss, you want the very best for them. You’ll find it at YourLife™ of Tallahassee. Because Memory Care is all that we do, we have the unique ability to focus all our energy, attention and resources into creating an environment that caters to each resident’s needs, preferences and abilities while providing unequaled peace of mind and support for families. We see each resident as an individual because we understand that each resident has their own story. Using this idea, we develop personally inspired care plans that value and support each person’s independence while creating beautiful days. No matter how much care they need, our team of attentive, caring YourLife™ Personal Care Specialists can provide assistance with all activities of daily living while providing reminders, guidance, support and cues. Even better, residents and their families experience true peace of mind knowing that expert care is on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our personal touch doesn’t stop at our care. In fact, it’s only just the beginning. We create days that leave residents feeling Inspired. Engaged. Fulfilled through our signature programming, YourStory. With individual experiences centered around each resident, engaging outings, services and amenities, activities, dining and more, we create opportunities to learn and pursue new endeavors. At YourLife™ of Tallahassee, everything was designed for you, but it is defined by you, creating a lifestyle that makes every day a joy. Contact us to learn more! Call us at 850-250-5671 for more information or to schedule a personal visit today.