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How can I deal with a family member’s sometimes challenging behavior without losing my patience?
Anticipating and being ok with the ups and downs of the caregiving journey can provide perspective to help maintain patience. It’s important to remember it’s the disease, ailment or the situation and not the person causing the behavior. There can be many reasons for a shift in behavior, such as not feeling well, changes in medication and mental or cognitive status, fear, lack of control or sleep and lastly, they could just be having a bad day. As caregivers we are often untrained medical providers operating on feelings or hunches. It’s easy to say, stay the course and filter the behavior through a lens of disease, but true compassion does start here. When we are in a challenging moment try to calm fears, acknowledge the person is being heard and change the direction of the behavior. Deescalating situations before they spiral into something larger can be helpful, and although this may sound trite, try injecting humor when possible. Most importantly, trust your instincts enough to know when to reach out to a professional for both who you are caring for and yourself.