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AARP Expert

How To Motivate Without Bullying During Caregiving

Friends,

 

     During my caregiving years with my mother, I wound up pressuring her at times when she was not being cooperative with me. Now that she's gone, I feel bad about this. Please let me know how you have handled this during your own caregiving experience and afterwards. Thank you. The link to my AARP.org column on the subject is below. Take care, Barry Jacobs, co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers

 

https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/home-care/info-2019/motivate-without-bullying.html

 

 

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I would prefer to use the word persistent to bullying.  My husband has diabetes , peripheral artery disease and ischemic cardiomyopathy.  He hides symptoms and is very stubborn about doing anything that takes him away from his computer and the stock market.  I think he has a bit of a gambling addiction with the stocks, but some retired men are addicted to golfing.  If I think something is wrong,  I give him my rousing often irritated speech about being proactive to save everyone the agony of things getting out of control over and over until he reveals the bad symptoms, schedules an additional specialist, whatever.  Most recently I had to throw things to get him to schedule a neurologist to see him about the foot pain he is about to have an angioplasty for (2 for legs, 2 for feet this year).  

   Doctor, you will find this astonishng, but we still have not seen the doctor or the scans he is supposed to have a foot angioplasty for on Thursday.  This is Phoenix, and medical practice does not seem to match Los Angeles.  By this time, I am exhausted.  I should get on the phone myself but he is not feeble and I neglect my own needs to pick his doctors, resarch drugs, etc etc.

Phoenix Rising
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Dear Phoenix Rising,

 

     I appreciate your very thoughtful response. I agree that "bullying" is not the preferred word but that's the lens through which my mother perceived my persistence. What this ultimately comes down to is negotiation--how do we help move our loved ones to take steps in furtherance of their own care without playing the ogre. The answer is going to depend on the personalities and relationships involved. We have to approach those negotiations with awareness and strategizing and the highest degree of sensitivy for our loved ones' needs for self-determination.

 

     I wish you and your husband good luck with Thursday's operation. Those fem-pop bypasses work wonders for a while but behavioral changes--such as reducing cholesterol and quitting smoking--are also crucial for sustaining the improvements. Take care, Barry

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My older brother and I took care of our father after heart valve replacement.  He stopped driving and I started buying the groceries, etc.  My brother took off from work to help Dad during the day.  I was not perfect, but he thanked us for keeping him home.  He had leg infection from scratch and was in hospital for 10 days.  He was packed and ready to go home.  We laughed. I got into argument with my father when going weekend shopping. He wanted things from three grocery stores and I went off and toldhim he was too demanding.  Two stores I said, that's it.  I was doing his laundry and mine all day Saturday - after working the whole week. Plus mine.  I took nap about 4:00 pm when I was caught up.  Having my brother cook all the meals helped tremendously. Sunday was the best day for me. He said my name one time before he passed from bladder cancer, paritial lung collapse at 88 years.  Navy Veteran and he raised five children on his own!!  We were there for him.

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I have been studying the psychology of motivation for some time and if there is one thing I have learned is that people are very simple. We are motivated towards what brings us pleasure and away from what brings us pain. Once the brain makes the association then its pretty straight forward how to proceed from there. You just need to get the person you want to do something to make the association in their mind and then they become self motivated. I wrote about it on my blog here: https://motivationping.com/

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