Today, I want to talk about some of the most damaging, costly behaviors we often do without realizing it’s putting a strain on the relationship.
As a reminder, anything hurting your relationship with the person who has dementia will make it more difficult for the person to want to accept your help now and in the future. And the idea of “hurting” in your relationship isn’t from your perspective. I know you would never do anything to intentionally hurt the person with dementia.
But what is your loved one with dementia thinking? Do they think you are helping or do they think you hruting, or hindering, or just getting in the way of them living their life. If you’re person with dementia seems to be pushing back on yoru care efforts and doesn’t seem to enjoy having you around tune in to see if you are making any of these 5 mistakes.
Remember, no one ever sat down with you to talk about this with you, so it’s okay if some of the things I’m going to share are things you are currently doing. It makes sense you're doing them because that’s what we would do in most relationships, BUT because dementia is involved, these things hurt the relationship and we want to change our approach.
AND, at the end of this video, I’ll share with you what you can actually do INSTEAD of these misktaes and how you can get your hands on one of my most popular training programs ever- absolutely free. You are not going to want to miss it.
If you would rather watch a video on this topic, click here.
Let’s dive in.
1. Wanting to remind them or point out their struggles, diagnosis, or reasons why they can’t do something that has to do with their weakness/impairment.
This is when the person with dementia wants to do something but because of their dementia they can’t.
We think if we just remind them that it’s not safe because of their dementia, that they will all of a sudden understand and be agreeable. But this often isn’t the case and YOU become the bad person sharing news they don’t believe and don’t agree with.
For example, driving a car. Our rational brain just wants to remind them they can’t drive because the doctor said so and they have dementia and it’s not safe.
That’s going to make it likely that they will become upset, disagree with you, and go into all the reasons why they CAN drive and how they want a 2nd opinion, the doctor was wrong, just give me the keys, etc. You become the bad guy, even though you're not the one who took away their license.
It usually never goes over well to point out someone’s weaknesses or struggles. Even outside of dementia, think about when someone points out your struggles or weaknesses? It usually doesn’t feel good and even when it’s the truth, it sometimes leaves a little sting and we might start having some negative thoughts about the person who told us how we aren't able to do the thing. I remember once working at the hospital and the wife and her husband with dementia came into my office and she was like, PLEASE just tell him he has dementia.
He wasn’t believing her. He didn’t believe he had dementia. She thought if I told him, he’d be more agreeable. But think of that interaction…an exasperated wife pleading with me to tell her husband he has dementia. How awful must that feel for the person with dementia?
Most of the time when we want to remind them of their diagnosis, we think it’s because they will become more agreeable to whatever it is you want them to do or not do. You want them to stop asking to drive the car, you want them to move into a care facility, you want them to stop trying to cook meals on the stove. Now those may all be important things to work toward trying to stop, BUT doing it by telling them about their diagnosis usually isn’t the way to do it. So let’s stop trying to convince them or reminding them of their diagnosis.
2. Highlighting their need for help
Another common mistake that we often don’t even realize we are doing is highlighting their need for help. We don’t want to highlight the fact that they need help. We don’t want to remind them of their struggles. They are likely to become resentful of you for helping them when they don’t think they need the help, or they just don’t like the fact that they need the help.
You ever notice how sometimes your loved one accepts help from others or seems better around others than they are with you? A lot of it is because those people aren’t the ones always helping, caregiving, showing how they need you to get by.
3. Taking over the entire area of something because they are struggling with it:
Finances, cooking, etc.
PROMOTE THEIR INDEPENDENCE!
Careblazer, just because they can’t do some things, doesn’t mean they can’t do all things. Even within certain areas they struggle. Just because they can’t manage all their finances are they able to manage some of their finances? Are they able to take soem control of their money?
Carebalzer, I’m calling this “OVER caregiving” or “OVER Caring''. It comes from a good place, you want to protect them. You want to keep them safe, but you are stripping away opportunities for their independence and that doesn’t feel so good to the person with dementia. Do you think you are doing this?
4. Making everything about Caregiving
Is every or most interactions with your loved one about caregiving or are you still doing things that don’t have anything to do with caregiving? This is another reason I see the person with dementia doing much better with others and having a harder time with the caregiving. When a visitor or friend stops by, it’s usually someone that isn’t around much and they don’t have the association of being a patient.
How many of you would describe your relationship with your loved one as mostly a caregiver-patient relationship or would it be more a spouse-spouse or parent-child relationship.
It doesn’t mean you have the same feelings as you did with them prior to the diagnosis and it doesn’t mean you get to engage and interact with them the same way you did prior to the diagnosis. BUT, you could strive for a human - human relationship.
5. Correcting them when it’s not necessary
This is a big one. Everytime you correct your loved one, it can be like a little stab at the relationship.
It can make them feel like you're always nagging them. Or that you’re the “warden” or that you’re treating them like a child. It can also lead to them being upset with you, not enjoying when you are around, and can lead to them feeling disappointed, hard on themselves, feeling like a failure and they can’t do anything right.
When it comes to correcting, you don’t have to correct things they say wrong or do wrong.
So the 5 common mistakes I hope we can all take a look at and start to reduce include:
The less you do those things, the more your loved one can start to have positive emotions associated with your presence. The more they will be willing to accept your help in the future. The more enjoyable interactions you will have with one another.
Now, if you’re wondering, well what do I actually do instead? I can’t just let them manage their finances they are making so many mistakes. I can’t just stop being a caregiver, they realy need help, Careblazer, for a very limited time, I’m giving you free access to the My Relatioship Revival Program. This is one of the most popular programs inside my Dementia Care Club and there is no way you can access this unless you are in my Dementia Care Club. Starting May 22nd - May 30th, you can access it for free. All you need to do is click the link here and it will take you to a secret page where all the videos are waiting for you and will be released on May 22nd.
It is possible to improve your relationship with your loved one. It is possible for them to be more accepting of your help. IT starts with stopping some of these common mistakes and following the simple steps outlined in the program. As a bonus, I also share several exercises you can do in 5 minutes or less to turn your relationship around. You are not going to want to miss this.