Caregiving is all about helping those who need it -- but what happens when those who need help insist they don't want it? Living with resistance hugely amps caregiver stress. It can make you feel like you're doing the "wrong" thing even when your impulses are totally right.
Many caregivers encounter this help-resisting phenomenon at the beginning of the care journey, when a loved one refuses to see a doctor for concerning symptoms, turns down eating, refuses to take pills, no walker for them ect.
1. Let it go. Come back to it.
We can fall deep into a power struggle without even realizing it. You say yes, I say no. You say later, I say now. When your loved one digs in their heels, retreat. Insisting only escalates the tension. By dropping back, you give yourself the opportunity to find a fresh entry point to the stand-off.
Your loved one may be resentful of the role you're in. They don't like being so dependent, which may make them feel bossed or babied (even if you're not bossy or mollycoddling). A little empathy can go a long way toward helping remind them that you're on the same side of things.
3. Crack a joke.
Humor doesn't work in every situation. But sometimes a wisecrack or light comment can brilliantly defuse tension and turn a dark reality into one so comically absurd that neither of you can help but laugh. And laughter, in turn, makes people more agreeable.
When your loved ones situation changes, it can turn your world upside down. Remember to breathe, listen and be present because their world has changed too.
Hello! As a caregiver, mother and social service worker I have learned many life lessons through hands on experience. My dream for you is to make your journey through caregiving a cherished one.