When the Person in Your Care Says NO

Jul 04, 2022

Ahhhh freedom!

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a country where we are able to think independently...

Travel without boundaries...

And express ourselves freely. 

That is...

Until aging or dementia takes it away from us.

It's true.

It happens.

Sometimes gradually...

Sometimes overnight...

Aging creates "holes" in our "bucket"...

And our independence begins to drain away.

Our desire for independence is hard-wired.

And yet, you might find yourself judging the person you're caring for when they:

Don't accept your help...

Deny they need help...

Or, behave in unexpected ways.

They're viewed as "challenging" or "resistant" when they disagree or fight with you. 

Even though physical and cognitive changes cause them to become more dependent on you...

They don't want to lose the feeling of independence.

So what if, instead of feeling frustrated, you made it acceptable and just fine? 

Or, better yet...

What if you could create experiences that leave them feeling competent and independent, as you're giving them the support they need?   

It can be done...

But you have to take the lead.

We practice this every day and can teach you to do it too. 

Creating experiences of competence for someone happens in 2 parts...

  1.   Through your choice of words. 

This is the actual message you deliver (before, during, and after) that is interpreted by the person you want to help. WORDS MATTER. And you will need to choose differently than you've done in the past. It is an art. When you practice it, you will become more consistently successful. Especially when it comes to supporting cognitive impairment. 

  1. Through the energy of your emotion. 

This is created by the thoughts you show up with. It is important to be aware of what you are thinking, because it controls how you feel. Your ENERGY IS FELT (and also interpreted) by the other person.   

We call this your Relational Action.

When you're good at it, you are actually creating the experience of competence and independence for the person in your care.

And of course, there are your Behavioral Actions. 

These are the many care and coordination tasks needed to "fill the holes" of what used to happen without your involvement.  

Your words and energy create an experience between you and the other person.

If we have learned anything from our family caregivers over the years, it's that caregiving tasks are not the hardest part.  

It's getting their collaboration and permission to give them the support they need. 

So, as we celebrate our nation's independence...

Let's also celebrate and nurture independence in each other. 



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