How To Deal With Resistance In Geriatric Care

The task of caring for the elderly can be daunting, especially when they’re resisting help. In order to make them more receptive to help, we need to delve deeper into the cause behind their hostility. Senior citizens often find it difficult to be vulnerable in front of people, especially when the latter do not seem very empathetic. There is also the additional hurdle of getting used to new people and a new environment. A cautious approach goes a long way in dealing with resistance, one which gives the elderly enough time to adjust to their surroundings, and to a new routine.

In the initial stages of the program, getting family members to participate in some of the activities might help in making the elderly more receptive to care and support, and would also encourage them to socialise with their contemporaries more freely. Making program objectives clear to them from the beginning, by explaining the benefits of the enlisted activities and setting up a concrete timeline, would go a long way in breaking their resistance down, and making them more receptive to change. Differential needs assessment is also crucial as a preliminary step to prevent resistance in later stages, as every senior citizen has different requirements when it comes to specialised care. Their cognitive, behavioural, emotional, and physical capabilities are not equal, and so, every individual would be in need of customisation of the program for it to benefit him or her in the best possible way.

If the individual is persistently resistant to help, a trial run of the actual program could be suggested. The program administrators could propose a short activity, assuring the elderly that their enthusiastic consent is something that they would need to start the program. This is known as the foot-in-the-door technique, which would make it more likely for them to say yes to the requests of the administrator in the future. Resistance is also more likely to be overcome when the message aimed at bringing about a change in the attitude is framed positively. Appeals that contain positive consequences of the program, without highlighting the negative consequences of not participating in it, have a higher chance of persuading the elderly. It would be even more effective ifthe message came from a credible source, like a healthcare professional, or a close friend.

When a senior citizen acts out and is consistently uncooperative, it gets frustrating for the program administrator and other members of the program. In such a situation, it is imperative that we maintain our composure, and try to empathise with them. A significant number of senior citizens are neglected and abused by their family members. They fear that they are losing control over their lives, and this drives them to act in a hostile manner. Reflective listening, which is the reconstruction of what the client is thinking tomake the client understand his or her thoughts better, is a communication strategy that can be deployed to bring the elderly to ease as well as win their cooperation. A compassionate and diligent effort to provide assistance would be sure to succeed in the long run.

Author: Diya Pant (

Categories: News