Practicing the Art of Compassion with Seniors


Unlike the cultures of some other countries, Americans aren’t known for having a society that celebrates, reveres, and respects old age—on the contrary, the health and beauty industry make billions on potions, products, and procedures that hope to delay the process of aging indefinitely. When it comes to dealing with the elderly, caregivers can look toward Dignicare Insurance for information that will help them deal with the senior citizens who have been entrusted to them with care and compassion. This guidance can be particularly helpful when the elderly become difficult to interact with, which can happen as a result of fear and uncertainty about their circumstances, anger at their loss of independence, personality-altering medication, chronic pain, or illness that affects behavior and temperament.

Behaving badly can become an issue

Mrs. Williams had a special advisory sticker on her chart at the senior living facility where she had resided for two years, which denoted that she was considered a particularly difficult person to deal with. Many caregivers and other residents reported incidents where Mrs. Williams went beyond her usual cranky behavior to downright belligerent. She would curse at workers who came in to provide her daily medicine, refuse to take the meds, accuse the workers of trying to poison her, throw objects at them and order them from the room. The staff increasingly became unwilling to provide services for Mrs. Williams, and management knew that something had to be done. They started with administering a dose of compassion.

Therapists came in to counsel and educate the staff, making them aware of the myriad challenges that the elderly face which can affect their behavior. The staff learned that this behavior is typically not directed at them personally, but rather at the situation the seniors find themselves in. Knowing this can make all the difference, said one worker who was worried he would be fired when a resident started telling the nursing staff that the worker was deliberately trying to hurt him. Communicate closely with staff, and keep detailed notes of all residents’ behavior and claims; you want to have enough insight into each case to know when any elder abuse might actually be taking place, yet also be cognizant when a resident is actually the one who is mistreating staff by acting out.

Even the calmest, most rational person can become paranoid and hostile when facing a barrage of unpleasant changes. Talk to a Dignicare Insurance professional to learn more about how staff can prepare themselves emotionally for the task of caring for especially challenging seniors.