Blogs » Providing Care and Comfort for Your Aging Loved One » Getting a Diamond to work with you, not against you.

Subscribe


Last week we discussed some of the basic characteristics of a diamond, such as loss of short term memory, lack of hygiene and finding items in odd places. Today, I’d like to discuss some of the common mistakes that family members make when dealing with a diamond and how to get your loved one to work with you and not against you. One of the most common missteps that you, as a concerned family member can make is to point out errors. Yes, you noticed that your mother put her lipstick in the freezer but it is absolutely pointless to draw her attention to it. All she is going to do is argue with you, accuse you or someone else of putting her lipstick in the freezer to make her look bad or she may call you a liar. Though a diamond may notice some errors, inevitably you are going to notice more than they do and pointing out every error you find is only going to make them feel threatened or embarrassed. Your efforts to help by making them face their mistakes will only draw their automatic reactions, fright, flight or fight. Often family members will continue to push the issue by trying to use words, logic or even force. Let me assure you that it will not work. All this causes them to do is to become focused on you, not the issue. You have now become the bad guy and everything is your fault. The most important thing you can do is to first put yourself in their shoes. They are scared; they are frustrated and confused with all the changes they are facing. How would you feel if you were facing a disease you could not control and making mistakes that you do not remember making and then having someone constantly point those mistakes out to you? It would not feel very good would it? Try being a detective, not a judge. Rather than, “Mom, why did you put your lipstick in the freezer?” Try , “Hmmm, that’s strange. I wonder how this lipstick got in the freezer?” Be friendly and not bossy when dealing with a diamond. A diamond still needs their independence and wants to be treated as an adult, not a child. Refrain from using words like, “You can’t!” “Don’t do that!” “You did this.” Or even the word no. Instead, try to find some common ground and come to an agreement. “Mom, I know you want to drive but the Dr. said that it is not safe. Can I take you to the mall and spend the day shopping with you?” Offer alternatives for things that hav-e been taken away. Listen and reflect, more than talk and push. Let them vent. Remember, it is not them it’s the disease. Repeat that, IT IS NOT THEM IT’S THE DISEASE!! Do not take anything personally! Change is hard so think in baby steps and lastly present things in short term, not forever. Don’t say, “Mom, you are never, ever allowed to drive again!” Try instead, “Mom, let’s spend today together and I will drive!” It’s not a punishment, it’s a treat! Every diamond is different and will present specific challenges. Take a deep breath, stay positive and be willing to recognize when it is time to back away from a topic or situation.

Senior Helpers is locally owned and operated, serving seniors in Victoria and surrounding counties. For more information please call 361-894-8901.