Owners' Blog

Are You Wondering Why Your Patient is Behaving Badly? The Fine Line

By Greg and Hilary Eldridge

Behavior Modification and Elder Care in Duluth, GA

It’s another day and you’re heading to the elderly patient’s home. You work for a home care agency providing a number of elder care services to many different patients throughout the community. With some of them, you have to deal with a variety of behavioral issues and it can certainly be frustrating.

Some days you just don’t know why you even bother anymore. That’s when you decide that you’re just not going to stand idly by as these seniors continue to treat you so poorly. After all, there’s only so much stuff that gets thrown at you that you’re going to simply ‘accept.’ There are only so many times that you’re going to change the soiled sheets because the patient was too lazy or ornery or mean to bother calling you for assistance getting to and from the bathroom.

This stuff has to stop. So you decide that you’re going to implement some type of behavior plan. You don’t worry that you don’t have any real experience with behavior modification; you’ve had kids so you know plenty about punishment and getting people to do what you want them do, which is what they should, at least in your opinion.

What you don’t think about or realize is that these people aren’t your children. It’s not even close. Sure, there are some things that you should realize that they shouldn’t be doing, or that you may be able to help them overcome, but you can’t go about this process thinking that they are the same as young children.

These are elderly individuals who have already lived a long life. Some may have been successful. Some may have achieved less than they hoped. Some may be depressed, frustrated, or even fearful. As a result, they may be acting out against you. It’s not personal (unless they have a reason to be ornery or angry with you), it’s that they may not feel that they have the ability to express themselves in a healthier, more appropriate manner.

Does this mean you should just take the mistreatment or abuse?

Of course not; no one should accept abuse, but you were hired for a reason. You should show respect to the senior first and foremost. Elderly home care is not always going to be roses and sunshine. Sometimes all it takes to change behaviors is to talk to and then listen to the patient.

The more you listen, the more you will learn about him or her and that can help you understand them better. When you understand the patient better, you’ll find ways to improve overall elder care for them and this can help you as well.