Extreme reactions from your elderly family member, particularly reactions that involve yelling, aggressive behavior, or other difficult actions, are hard to manage as the caregiver. You’re caught in a position in which you’re trying to do the best you can for your senior, but her extreme reactions make that almost impossible.
Try to See Things from Her Point of View
When your senior is being unreasonable or extreme, you completely understand your own point of view, of course. But if you can take a moment and try to see things from your senior’s perspective, that can help a lot. You might understand that she’s afraid of something or that she’s got an underlying issue that isn’t being resolved. That split second of shifting your perspective can change how you react, which can also affect how the situation goes from there.
Solve What You Can Solve
If you do notice that there’s an underlying situation at play, solve it right then if you can. Your senior might be over-expressing her feelings about the issue, but that doesn’t invalidate the fact that she has a need. There are other situations, though, such as when your senior is in pain or if there’s an undiagnosed medical issue, that need to be addressed further. If you’re still having a tough time with explosive reactions, talk to your senior’s doctor about what that can mean.
Talk it Over with Her When She’s Calmer
When your senior is feeling a little bit calmer, try to broach the topic with her. Let her know that sometimes her reactions make you feel a certain way and that it’s difficult for you to help her when these conversations escalate. In a calmer state, she may be able to see things from your perspective, especially if you’re working on other ways to meet her needs. But she may also feel defensive about what you’re saying, which can make the conversation escalate again.
Step Back for Regular Breaks
If you’re not already taking time away from caregiving, you need to be. Especially with situations that escalate and become unpleasant, you’re experiencing more stress than you realize. Enlist the help of home care services providers and take some time away. When you come back, you’ll have a fresher perspective and you may handle the reactions you’re getting from your elderly family member in a much different way.
What seem like extreme reactions to you may not appear that way for your senior from her own point of view. This is especially where taking more time for yourself can be the best solution for both you and your aging adult.