While we were doing a reassessment with a member of our elder’s geriatrician team, some points of contention came up. One of them was a request made to me about something our elder can’t have. I tried to reason with her and her temper flared.
Logical Explanation: Being told she can’t have this or has to do that has never set well with our elder. She’s done so much in her life and she was highly successful. She remembers that, so to her these restrictions are, in her words, ridiculous. When faced with that, I’ve always tried logic. The nurse practitioner calmed her down quickly. After the visit, she took me aside and told me not to try to reason with her.
You’d think I’d know that by now, but I didn’t. Until here recently I’d been able to reason with her on most subjects. The difficult subjects I’ve already learned to handle differently. She’s reached the point where reasoning just isn’t feasible at all.
How the nurse practitioner handled it: The request was for a pair of scissors. Our elder uses them inappropriately and cannot even have a pair of children’s safety scissors. The nurse practitioner calmly told her that no facility allowed residents to have scissors, it wasn’t just her. End of subject, and time to move on.
Tactful Redirection: I have to admit that there are times when I’m lacking in the tact department. It usually happens when someone is yelling at me. The kneejerk reaction is to yell back, which I have avoided as much as possible. Yes, it’s hard. However, there is a formula for dealing with this.
If you noticed in what the doctor said, there was a recognition of the request and an answer that didn’t make our elder feel singled out. Everyone in her facility has the same problem. The second part was redirection. In this case, back to the exam being performed.
That isn’t exactly a fair example of redirection, as our elder still remembers to be respectful to medical personnel. The validation of her request is, but we have to use different things to redirect. Right now the best form is to talk about the visit she’s going to have with her oldest granddaughter and one of her great grandchildren. That is so exciting she forgets to be ticked that she can’t have the scissors…or any other contraband.
It will take practice to skip the reasoning part and develop a smooth redirecting technique. There may be a few more temper problems (for both of us), but having seen it done by a professional I feel confident we can do the same. It is worth the effort.