An elderly in my family who suffers from cognitive impairment and needs to take her to the hospital for follow-up consultation regularly. However, she is stubborn. Therefore, it is difficult to persuade her to wear a mask for going outside. Even if she wears it, she quickly removes it. I often quarrel with her and become exhausted. I worry about her being infected, and at the same time, I feel remorseful about the deteriorated relationship with her because of the epidemic. In this case, how should I get along and communicate with her?
Let's think about it first, how does it feel of wearing a mask? Does it feel uncomfortable and unnatural?
Regardless of people with dementia, some elderly people also resist wearing masks. This is a normal reaction. Caregivers should try to keep a calm tone and encourage the elderly to try with a caring attitude. This can avoid making the elderly feel that wearing a mask is stressful and unpleasant. The caregiver can also explain the current situation to her briefly and concisely so that she can feel reassured. If the elderly wears a mask and takes it off soon, we only need to give them a simple reminder, keep patience, and repeat putting on the mask for her. You can also think of other auxiliary or creative methods, such as helping her rub her hands more with disinfectant, make a beautiful cloth mask for her and so on.
Feeling remorse comes from the love you have for your family, and the worry that you did not do enough or did it wrong. But in this unusual period, caregivers must first accept and affirm your emotions and appreciate your efforts. Faced with uncontrollable situations and temporary disordered lives, we need to settle ourselves down and communicate with the elderly.
Source: Ms. Leung, Elderly Services Social Worker, Hong Kong Family Welfare Society