How to Handle Older Relatives Who Have Lost Their Filter

Occasionally, as people age, their inhibitory abilities may diminish, and they may not realise that their comments are rude, crude, or outlandish until it is too late. A family member who has lost their filter can be embarrassing, frustrating, and in some cases downright hurtful to deal with on a regular basis. You might be perplexed as to how to respond to or deal with your relative’s behaviour.. If you’re with a relative, find a distraction or redirect their attention to something else. If they say something outrageous or offensive, don’t take their words personally and move on. If you believe the remarks may be related to health or cognitive ability changes, you should consult with a medical professional.

Part 1 Responding Gently and Sensitively

1. Respond to the points raised. Your relative may say something outrageous or crude, and you may be taken aback or surprised by their words. In the event that your relative loses their filter, resist the urge to react with shock, anger, or even mockery. Inform your relative in a gentle manner that their behaviour is inappropriate and then move on. Once an incident has passed and you have dealt with it in the moment, there is no reason to bring it up in conversation.

Say something like, “It’s not appropriate to speak of people in that manner.” “This is not how we communicate.”

If a comment is particularly offensive, it may even be appropriate to simply ignore it and not respond at all. It is possible that this strategy will not be effective in the case of someone who is experiencing cognitive decline.

2. Direct them away from the area. If the situation becomes uncomfortable, gently guide your relative to a different location. As you travel to a different location, speak calmly and directly to your relative. You may also notice certain situations that are designed to draw their attention away from their inappropriate behaviour and divert it away from something or someone they are about to see.

To avoid a potentially embarrassing situation from occurring during certain events or situations (such as being in a large crowd or being around young children), you should direct your relative away from the situation ahead of time to avoid a potentially embarrassing situation from occurring.

In the case of a racist remark made by your relative while you are at the grocery store, direct them to a different aisle or have them leave the store immediately.

3. Take a brief rest period. Consider taking a short break to de-escalate the situation if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the stress of dealing with your elderly parent or grandparent. Take a walk or go outside and get some fresh air to recharge your batteries. In the event that you are becoming frustrated with your relative or require some time to cool off, you should remove yourself from the situation for a while.

Please excuse yourself from the room and find another location. You might want to prepare a snack to keep you going until you can return later on.

4. Respond to those who are watching. When relatives are present, they have a way of saying things that are not appropriate. It is entirely up to you how you respond to the situation. When someone behaves inappropriately, you can either apologise for it (“I’m sorry my aunt said that to you”), inform them (“Sometimes my grandmother says inappropriate things due to her dementia”), or laugh it off (“All those years of embarrassing my uncle as a kid have come back on me!”). Consider how your relative would want you to handle the situation, no matter how you decide to handle it.

For example, if your relative has always placed a high value on privacy, it is possible that they will not appreciate you discussing their condition with strangers. If your relative, on the other hand, is known for his or her sense of humour and lighthearted joking, it may be appropriate to accept the statements when they are made in public.

Part 2 Using Distraction and Redirection

1. Redirect people’s attention. In the event that your relative is rambling on about something offensive or inappropriate, redirect their attention to another topic. It’s possible that you’ll want to change the subject or ask them to look at something. Bring some photos to them, or change the subject to something that they are interested in learning more about. Make a joke or say something amusing to set the tone.

“Enough, let’s take a look at some photos of the grandchildren,” you can say.

Additionally, you can say, “Oh, I heard a really amusing joke the other day.” Would you be interested in hearing it?”

2. Make use of touch or other sensory input. Touch can be used to refocus the mind’s attention in certain situations. Especially if your relative is shouting, yelling, or screaming, it is possible that they are having difficulty expressing their emotions. They might be in discomfort or experiencing pain. Using a light touch can help to calm them and make them feel more secure.

You may want to give them a small treat to make them feel more secure and to allow them to enjoy something. This can include something sweet like toffee or a small piece of candy that your loved one enjoys.

You can even incorporate their sense of smell, for example, by putting some essential oils in an oil infuser and letting them inhale the aroma. Make use of a calming scent such as lavender or rose oil to help you relax.

Colors and lighting can also be used to create a calming environment. To create a relaxing atmosphere in the person’s room, soft colours and dim lighting should be utilised.

3. Distract them with something they are already familiar with. Provide a task that they can complete on their own or that they feel confident doing, such as colouring or playing with the dog. The activity should be one that your relative is familiar with and recognises, rather than something new or complicated.

For example, you could say, “We’re going for a walk right now, would you like to join us?” “Let’s put the dishes away,” for example, is another option.

Provide them with a soft object in their hand that they can throw without hurting anyone if they are doing it in private. Frequently, people will direct their attention away from their own words and toward an object. Consider using a small stuffed animal or a soft ball instead of a hard ball.

If you’re in public, bring up a topic that your relative enjoys talking about. For example, you might say, “I’d like to bake a dessert when we get home.” “Can you tell me what we should bake?”

Part 3 Handling Ongoing Problems

1. Consult with a medical professional. It is possible that an underlying secondary condition is responsible for strange behaviours. It is possible that certain medical or mental diagnoses will cause problems, or that medications will have an effect on your relative’s behaviour. Consult with a doctor to rule out any health issues that may be affecting their ability to behave appropriately.

Inform the physician of any changes in your relative’s behaviour, as well as the nature of the changes. Take note of how long the behaviours have been present and whether they appear to be associated with any changes in their health.

Characteristics such as changes in personality and behaviour are frequently observed in patients with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Other signs and symptoms to look for include memory loss, a decline in problem-solving ability, confusion about time and place, and changes in personality or mood.

2. Determine whether or not a behaviour is dangerous. It’s critical to understand what to look for in order to keep your elderly loved one safe. Some of the warning signs that they may require professional assistance are as follows:

Changes in their nonverbal communication. For example, the person may alter their posture, their gestures, the physical distance between themselves and the people with whom they are conversing, their facial expressions, or the tone of their voice to communicate more effectively. Keep an eye out for any significant shifts in the individual’s body language.

Factors relating to the environment Consider whether they behave differently in a particular environment or when surrounded by certain individuals. Is it beneficial to remove them from the environment? Is it possible to incorporate calming scents, sounds, or colours into your routine?

Not being able to meet basic needs. Consider whether or not their most basic requirements are being met. Is it because they’re cold, hot, hungry, thirsty, or hurting?

After receiving a medical diagnosis, there may be changes in communication and behaviour. Considering whether this person has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, think about whether they were able to express certain things to you in the past but are no longer able to do so now. What was their previous behaviour like? Can you tell me about their previous behaviour before you noticed this change? Was there anything that helped them or that made things worse?

3. Seek professional assistance if you are engaging in dangerous behaviour. If your relative’s behaviour continues to spiral out of control, you may begin to feel uncomfortable or unsafe in their presence. If someone’s words or actions become abusive or dangerous, they should seek outside assistance from a therapist or other behavioural specialist. You may need to think about ways to make yourself feel safer, or you may need to discuss ways to calm your relative’s anger. A home health nurse can be of assistance because elderly people are more harsh with family members than they are with strangers.

A therapist can work with you and your family to develop strategies for dealing with your situation more effectively.

4. Don’t take anything they say personally. Your relative’s words may cause you embarrassment or even physical harm. It’s difficult not to take things personally, but remember that it’s unlikely that they’re trying to hurt or embarrass you in the first place. Concentrate on the positive aspects of life rather than the negative aspects. If you find yourself becoming upset, excuse yourself from the situation and take some time away from it.

It is especially important to say to yourself, especially if the behaviour is new and out of character for your relative, “These words are hurtful, but they do not reflect how my relative feels about me.”

5. Discuss the behaviour in detail. You should consider talking to your relative about their words or actions if they are making you feel upset or uncomfortable. Instruct them to understand that their words are inappropriate or unkind. “It hurts my feelings when you speak to me in such a disrespectful manner.” ”Please do not make fun of me or the work I perform for you.”

If talking doesn’t get you anywhere, scale back on the activities you perform for them. This can convey the message, “Treat me nicely and with kindness, and I will continue to graciously assist you,” to the recipient.

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