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Getting Cooperation from a Senior with Dementia

Posted by Jennifer on November 10, 2015

dementia cooperationIf you work or live with someone who has dementia, you will know that there are times when you just can’t seem to get a ‘yes’. When you need something done, such as dressing in the morning, or when you just want them to try an activity you know they’ll enjoy, you end up feeling frustrated and hopeless as your senior loved one continually refuses to cooperate. Next time, try these creative tips to turn the ‘no’ around:

  • Bribery – Experts agree that bribery is a perfectly good tactic for seniors with dementia, as the dementia affects their ability to reason (unlike a child, who can reason that being stubborn may result in bribes!). Next time try adding a reward.
  • Try compliments – If your senior loved one says ‘no’ to you asking something, try adding some extra information in the shape of a compliment, such as “you’ve always been good at doing ____, will you please help me do this?”.
  • Offer choices – Instead of the options being yes or no, try giving options of A or B. This may be a more productive step on days when your senior loved one seems particularly disagreeable.
  • Compromise – We’re not going to get our way every time, but we might get something good enough. If you keep hearing ‘no’, try meeting in the middle.
  • Don’t take it personally – Remember that the person you are speaking to is affected by cognitive decline, and they are in no way trying to be difficult or stubborn with you. Don’t take it personally when you can’t seem to get a win, and don’t show them your frustration.
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