Advice for Dealing with a Loved One Who is Uncooperative

If your family member is resistant to getting an Alzheimer’s evaluation, a calm discussion can make a difference.


- Posted on Sep 25, 2019

A caregiver has a sit down conversation with his senior father.

This article is based on information provided by Home Instead Senior Care.

You may have noticed that your loved one has shown signs of Alzheimer’s. But when you broach the subject of taking him or her to get an evaluation, you’re met with resistance. This situation is stressful for your loved one, as well as for everyone else in your family, and if you are forceful or argumentative, it only adds to the stress. A softer approach to the situation can be far more effective.

A good way to begin is by calmly talking face-to-face with your loved one about what you have noticed. From there, you can ask what he or she thinks is happening. Offer suggestions and specific observations, and try not to be critical. Speaking in a loving tone can go a long way toward putting your loved one at ease. You may also want to provide him or her with some information, as education is helpful. 

It is difficult to change past patterns. Model good behavior. Don’t argue. Try to go with the flow. Your loved one may respond in kind

If your loved one comes to the conclusion that there might be a problem, you can ask for input on what to do next. If he or she does not bring up the idea of getting a thorough assessment, you can speak to the importance of preparation and early action. This is in this person’s best interests. You can reassure him or her by noting that it might be nothing, but that it’s better to be on the safe side by knowing for certain what is going on. 

If you continue to meet with resistance, try speaking openly and honestly about your own feelings. Many times, people will do something they don’t want to do out of love for the person who is asking.

It may benefit you to read The 40/70 Rule®, published by Home Instead Senior Care®. This wonderful resource contains scenarios and responses based on real-life experiences. Communication expert and author Jake Harwood, Ph.D., from the University of Arizona helped develop the content.

Remember to keep trying. It might be necessary to approach your loved one in a few different ways, but eventually you may come to an understanding.

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