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Dealing with Noncompliant and Uncooperative Elderly Patients

There are many factors which can lead to an elderly person becoming noncompliant with their medication, or uncooperative with their care plan. As such, there are also many different ways a caregiver can deal with either problem. So what are some things that Encompass might tell a family caregiver if they’re struggling with an uncooperative elderly parent?

First off, the answer depends on the family caregiver’s personal relationship with the elderly person before there is a crisis. For example, sudden fits of crabbiness would raise alarm to an adult daughter who has had a lifelong happy and healthy relationship with her elderly mother. Conversely, changes in behavior would be less noticeable if the relationship between the mother and daughter has a long history of turbulence. Once the type of relationship is identified, the aim should then be to figure out why the elderly parent is being uncooperative.

Common reasons for elderly noncompliance

  • Side effects from medication–Side effects from medications can induce illness and older patients are especially sensitive to medication overdose complications, the New York Times notes.
  • Complicated medication regimen–It’s normal for an elderly person to be taking multiple medications several times a day. Understandably, this can get complicated, especially if your parent is disabled (poor eyesight, foggy memory, etc.). Keep an up to date list of your loved one’s prescriptions and go over it with a doctor or physician if there’s a notable change in health or behavior.
  • Unable or unwilling to change eating and exercise habits–For many medications to work properly, there must be a change in diet. Likewise, it’s very common for a doctor to recommend an increase in exercise to promote better health. Even so, lifelong habits are hard to change, especially when side effects from medication and physical limitation are at play.

Common reasons for an elderly parent’s uncooperative behavior

  • Unhappy with their situation–The ails of old age cause many people to lose their precious independence. This is a tough situation for many people to deal with. When facing the reality of a chronic illness, or lulling on the idea of being a burden on their families, many seniors become depressed or develop a negative outlook on life. Try talking openly and honestly with your loved one about their fears. Also, consider talking to the doctor about your his or her behavior as well.
  • Side effects from medication–As mentioned above, drugs can positively or negatively effect a person’s health, even leading to drastic changes in a person’s behavior.
  • Cognitive decline–Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia slowly take away a person’s precious memories, leading to uncharacteristic behaviors and sudden outbursts. If possible, discuss what your parents’ expectations are regarding their care. This will help you act according to their wishes should a crises arise.

Many times, when elderly parents become uncooperative/noncompliant it means, You aren’t doing what I want you to do rather than them actually not wanting change to happen. In the end, the situation comes down to negotiation and letting the parent be a true partner in the decision-making process.

Physicians Choice Private Duty currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here . Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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