Understanding the Reasons Why Dementia Patients May Refuse Care

Caring for someone with dementia can be emotionally and physically taxing, and one of the most common challenges caregivers face is when dementia patients refuse care. Understanding the reasons behind this refusal is crucial for providing the best possible care and support. In this article, we’ve put together several key factors that contribute to why dementia patients may exhibit resistance to care. Keep reading to find out more.

Preservation of habits and routines 

man sharing food to his father

For many individuals with dementia, routines provide a sense of comfort and security in an otherwise confusing and unpredictable world. These routines can include daily activities such as meal times, hygiene routines, and even specific rituals related to personal belongings. 

When caregivers attempt to impose new routines or disrupt established habits, it can lead to resistance. Dementia patients may refuse care because they feel a deep-seated need to hold onto these familiar patterns. The disruption of these routines can cause anxiety, agitation, and even aggression in some cases. 

Instead of abruptly changing schedules, it’s often more effective to adapt and work within the patient’s framework. This approach can help reduce resistance and make the caregiving experience less distressing for both the patient and the caregiver. At iKare, our caregiver services are attuned to the significance of this principle, striving to provide compassionate and customised care that respects the individual’s need for routine and stability. 

Loss of autonomy and control 

As dementia takes its toll, it systematically erodes individuals of autonomy and control over their lives. Within this context, dementia patients often employ resistance to care as a means of preserving the remnants of control that remain in their lives. 

Understanding this need for control is crucial for caregivers. Instead of forcing care on the patient, a more practical approach involves offering options and involving the individual in decisions whenever possible. This simple yet powerful shift can empower the patient, nurturing a sense of autonomy, and subsequently reducing their resistance to care.

Cognitive impairment 

Elderly asian woman on wheelchair

Cognitive impairment lies at the heart of dementia, impacting various facets of a person’s cognitive functions, including their ability to think and reason. In the midst of this cognitive decline, dementia patients often struggle to acknowledge their own need for assistance or grasp the potential consequences of declining care. They may frequently experience lapses in memory, become easily disoriented, or misinterpret the caregiver’s intentions. 

Due to these challenges, caregivers should approach individuals with dementia with patience and empathy, recognizing that the resistance may not be deliberate but rather a result of the cognitive challenges the patient faces. Employing clear and straightforward communication, along with visual cues and gestures when necessary, are strategies that can effectively bridge the communication gap.

Learn more: 4 Mistakes to Avoid When Caring for a Loved One With Dementia | iKare

In conclusion, understanding the complexities behind the resistance to care exhibited by dementia patients is paramount in providing the most effective support possible. Acknowledging these underlying factors empowers caregivers to enhance the quality of care offered to those grappling with the challenges of dementia, affording them the respect, empathy, and steadfast care they rightly deserve. 

Searching for tailored dementia care services in Singapore? From home care to home nursing services, iKare has a dedicated team of professionals with the expertise to deliver the finest care for your loved ones. Reach out to find out more today.