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How to Practice Patience with Your Elderly Loved Ones

There’s an Irish proverb for practically every occasion. One proverb offers a bit of wisdom that is particularly appropriate for caregivers: “Patience is a plaster for all sores.” The proverb can be found in various forms, but the idea conveyed remains the same. There is a kind of strength and healing to be found in patience that many overlook in today’s fast-paced, 24/7 world. Connecting with that sense of patience will serve you well as you work to deliver quality care that meets the emotional and physical needs of your loved one without experiencing burnout. If you find yourself serving as a caregiver, do you know how to practice patience with the seniors in your life?

Tips for How to Practice Patience with Your Elderly Loved Ones

Caregiving is often far more challenging than it first appears. While being there to lend a helping hand to those you care about has many rewards, knowing how to practice patience is absolutely essential.

Understanding the Reasons for Resistance

You’re loved one needs assistance. You want what’s best for your loved one. You both care for each other. What can go wrong? Unfortunately, there are many things that can create friction. As Mayo Clinic points out, being aware of the common stumbling blocks and reasons why resistance to care may develop can help you think of ways that you can avoid issues and foster cooperation.

Why do seniors sometimes resist care? Accepting help is a change that can bring a loss of privacy or independence. That can leave your loved one feeling vulnerable, guilty, scared, angry, or all of the above. Add in concerns that accepting help is a sign of weakness, financial worries, fears about the implications of failing health, or difficulties truly grasping the situation due to memory loss or cognitive decline, and it’s easy to see that you can have an emotionally charged situation. Patience is vital if you’re going to succeed. How do you bring it to the table?

Strategies for Practicing Patience

Being a caregiver can feel like walking a tightrope over a pond full of leaping alligators. You’re trying to juggle your loved one’s desires with what their doctors say they need to be healthy and safe while also managing to fulfill your own personal and professional responsibilities. Trying to manage this trick and be patient too can seem like a tall order. However, patience will help you be a more effective caregiver, which can allow you to enjoy your time with your loved one more. Check out the following strategies for how to practice patience:

  • Consider the timing. When you need to have a discussion with your loved one, choose a time when you are relaxed and thinking clearly. It will build goodwill and cut down on frustration, making it easier to be patient.
  • Present yourself as a helper rather than a dictator. Demanding that a senior hand over their finances or car keys will likely be meant with stiff resistance, even if they are finding certain tasks difficult. However, if you offer to help with the checkbook, set up a system to make the monthly bills easier, or handle the night driving, you may find your suggestion welcomed. As you have more successes in helping your loved one, you’ll find it easier to be patient.
  • Explain why you need something. If you need your loved one to do things a certain way, explain why. For example, are they always running late or moving slowly? Do they think of one more thing as you go out the door? Remind them that you need them to be ready to go so that you can be home in time to meet the school bus or make it to work. Give them a chance to help you get things done.
  • Remember to look after yourself. Being a caregiver can be incredibly stressful. It’s easy to find yourself running on too little sleep, too little energy, too little fuel, and too little positivity. While there’s always something else that needs your attention, be sure to take time to rest and recharge. You’ll find that you’re better at being patient when you are happy and healthy.

The best things in life are seldom easy, so it’s no surprise that serving as the caregiver for an elderly loved one tends to come with some challenges. For those who meet the challenge with patience and love, it also comes with many rewards.

Are you looking for safe, worry-free care for your elderly loved one in the Kansas City area? Be sure to check out The Piper. Our team of experienced and compassionate professionals ensures that residents feel secure and comfortable right away. At our warm and welcoming community, which is truly a “home within a home,” we foster social interaction, engagement, and the right amount of care. Our residents always come first. To learn more about our services or to schedule a tour, please give us a call at 913-361-5136 or contact us online.