Disagreements among humans are inevitable. They can arise daily in any type of life situation. Fighting and controlling behavior can also emerge, and assisted living is no exception. There can be small conflicts or even big flare-ups.
No matter what the situation is, learning to work through conflict rather than ignoring it is crucial. Problem solving is an important skill to develop no matter the person’s age or where they live. Mismanaged conflict has a negative impact on all persons involved and is disruptive and dis-harmonious.
Sometimes personality conflicts can occur between the caregiver and the resident. Perhaps the resident thinks the caregiver is being bossy, or there are some disagreements. Yes, these are all things that are a result of human nature and of everyone being unique and different from the next person.
It’s okay to have disagreements, and it’s normal to experience conflict. The important part is how you react to it. You might have the best caregiver ever who is loved by almost all the residents, but one person can’t tolerate her. These kinds of differences can be smoothed over fairly easily. Perhaps that resident can be given another caregiver, or they can sit down with an unbiased person and talk out the differences and plan on a strategy to get along with each other.
Control issues can arise in people who feel like they have very little control left in their lives. Sometimes the controlling behavior is little more than annoying and irritating; other times it may escalate to situations that are disruptive to other members of the community or the staff. A private meeting held with the resident can often clear things up, or asking a trusted family member to attend the meeting can resolve the situation.
It’s important to remember that everyone is valuable and deserves to be respected. The aging senior is going through a lot of stress in their life and may be struggling with some depression or dementia which can be a trigger for conflicts. Sometimes medications and their reactions can trigger outbursts, anxiety and fear which are also potential triggers for conflict.
The important thing to do is try to find a solution to conflict in a calm manner which shows respect to all individuals involved. If your elderly loved one is experiencing difficulties in this area, perhaps a visit to the doctor can rule out any undiagnosed illness. Once that is accomplished, perhaps a visit with a counselor or therapist can help to bring out underlying problems that can be addressed.