Worried woman with her head in her hands

What To Do If An Elderly Family Member Becomes Angry With You

Today let’s talk about anger, and the dynamics anger can cause in both the caregiver and the client.

1. Don’t Take it Personal:

First of all, don’t take it personally. When a loved one you’re caring for is angry, remember that this is someone who has had pretty much all their independence taken away from them. They’re not angry at you, they’re angry at the situation. This is a bad place for them to be in. They’ve always been in control of things, and now they’re not.

2. Don’t Discount Their Anger:

But also, don’t discount their anger. It’s very real. They’re going through some things that you and I will also go through. We need to understand and acknowledge their anger, but redirect it and give them some solutions.

3. Involve Your Loved One in the Decision-Making Process:

Make them part of your decisions. Incorporate them into the conversations, so they don’t feel like someone is coming at them telling them what they have to do, and taking control away. Remember, these are people who used to take care of us! We need to acknowledge that they are still a valuable part of society, and need to be able to contribute what they can.

Try to help them see that there are alternatives. And don’t try to talk them out of their anger, or act like you don’t understand why they’re angry. Acknowledge it and help them find a solution for it in things that they can still do.

4. Let us Be The “Bad Guy”:

We think you’ll find that the relationship will improve drastically if you can have someone else be the caregiver. We know you can’t always do that. But even when you can’t, find ways to incorporate having someone else help, or other solutions so that you can get back to being the spouse, or the child, so that you’re welcomed into the room instead of your loved one thinking, “Oh, no, here they come again with that medicine!” In our case, personally, having someone else come in and be the caregiver was wonderful! This allowed us to be the family again, and we were no longer seen as the bad guys shoving the telling them that they could only drink so much, etc.

So when you find that you’re starting to have to take care of more things for your loved one, remember: Don’t discount what they can still do, don’t discount their anger, but don’t take it personally. If you need our help, we are a phone call away.