Trusts and Estates Blog

Caring for Those Who Resist Care

Elderly hands holding adult handsCaring for elderly parents, family members, and loved ones takes a toll on the caregiver, especially if the loved one becomes increasingly uncooperative. What do you do when your loved on resists care? How can you get them to take a bath, brush their teeth, change their clothes, and take medicine when they refuse? Here are a few things to keep in mind when caring for a resistant loved one.

1). Consider outside influences. As your loved ones grow older and sometimes lose mental aptitude, listening to their non-verbal communication becomes even more important. Why are they resisting care? It could be from outside influences such as lighting, noise, temperature level, food and drink, and other causes. Be aware of the conditions surrounding your loved one and adjust them if they are uncomfortable.

2). Consider your attitude. You can easily become frustrated with a loved one who resists care, but that frustration can further irritate the patient. Yelling, expressing anger, or even showing disdain and impatience can affect your loved one. Before you say something, think about what you’re going to say and how you’re saying it.

3). Choose your battles. Your loved one probably won’t continue doing things the way they always have. Elderly people often bathe less often, change clothes more infrequently, and change patterns of activity. Be sensitive to these changes and accept many of them. A full bath is not necessary each day and clothes that are not spoiled do not need to be changed daily.

4). Watch for subtle differences. As common as it is for patterns to change in the lives of elderly loved ones, certain changes can signal problems. If your loved one usually loves a certain activity but increasingly refuses to partake, something is wrong. If they refuse to get out of bed, check for illness or injuries/bruises from a fall. If they refuse to join family activities, look for outside noises, lights, distractions, or people that are deterring them from joining. If they refuse to perform routine activities, watch for depression. Help them perform daily tasks and encourage them to continue doing them on their own. If they refuse to take medication, read up on the possible side effects and watch for them in your loved one. If they refuse hygienic care, perhaps they are embarrassed. Make sure you two are alone when bathing/changing them, and talk of pleasant memories to distract them from the task. As your loved one enters a new time of changes, keep an eye out for subtle behavioral differences that could point to bigger problems.

5). Stay patient. Perhaps the best advice for those caring for irritable loved ones is to stay positive, patient, and loving. Even if they don’t admit it, your loved one is scared about the changes they’re facing. They don’t know why certain things are happening, how to adjust to the changes, and what the future will hold. They don’t need an impatient caretaker to further frustrate them, but need a kind loved one to assist them through this time.

Taking the extra time to care for a loved one might seem like an inconvenience and one that is especially difficult if your loved one is irritable, but realize that little things can be affecting their actions. Pay special attention to their non-verbal communication, and adjust your actions to better help them.

If you would like more information concerning caring for the elderly, contact Antelope Valley estate planning law firm Thompson Von Tungeln (TVT) at 661-945-5868 or visit their website at is a comprehensive online resource for Elder Law and related issues. As Board Certified Specialists in Estate Planning, Trusts and Probate as certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, partners Mark E. Thompson and Kevin L. Von Tungeln are expertly equipped to serve clients with the creative, effective and custom solutions they demand.

The Andrew Carnegie Example

Andrew Carnegie - Gospel of Wealth“The problem of our age is the proper administration of wealth, that the ties of brotherhood may still bind together the rich and poor in harmonious relationship.” The opening line of Andrew Carnegie’s book The Gospel of Wealth paints an accurate picture of Carnegie’s life and gives us an example of how to treat our wealth.

Carnegie became one of the first millionaires in America when he built his Carnegie Steel Company into one of the richest companies in the late 1800s. His story isn’t steeped in wealth, though, as he originally immigrated to the United States from Scotland with his parents. He began his career as a factory worker and worked his way to business owner.

Despite the wealth Carnegie amassed from his profitable business, he is most well-remembered as one of the world’s most benevolent philanthropists. In 1901, he sold Carnegie Steel Company to JP Morgan for $225 million, thus entering retirement. But his life was only just beginning as he focused his efforts and monies on giving to others.

Andrew spent the next eighteen years of his life establishing libraries, universities, places of learning, and scientific endeavors across the United States, United Kingdom, and other English-speaking countries of the world. Although he freely donated his money, Carnegie didn’t believe in handouts. He specified that if a city or town wanted him to fund a library, they must be willing to match his gift. He wanted the libraries to be a joint endeavor.

Carnegie didn’t believe in passing wealth on to posterity as he cited the British aristocracy as a model of the spoiling of generations, “I would as soon leave my son a curse as the almighty dollar.” By his death in 1919, Carnegie had given away roughly $350 million of his wealth in philanthropic endeavors, and the remaining $30 million was given to foundations and charities.

“Surplus wealth is a sacred trust which its possessor is bound to administer in his lifetime for the good of the community.” Andrew Carnegie certainly lived out his philosophy and inspired many of his wealthy friends to follow his pattern of giving. His greatest legacy isn’t that he amassed such great wealth, but that he willingly gave away what he had.

When you sit down to plan your legacy and designate your monies in your will or trust, remember that philanthropic giving allows you to leave a legacy beyond your family. Whether you have much wealth or little, take time to look into giving to a local school, church, library, arts program, or university. Ask your attorney about foundations or charities to which you can designate a portion of your estate. Follow the Carnegie example, “I resolved to stop accumulating and begin the infinitely more serious and difficult task of wise distribution.”

Caring for the Caregiver

seniors having teaIf you’re the child or family member of a loved one who is growing older, you know how stressful caring for them can be. Many caregivers aren’t very old themselves, but have found themselves burdened with the task of caring either part-time or full-time for an aging loved one. While helping those you love is never viewed as a burden, it can create unneeded stress in your own life if you aren’t careful to focus on your own needs. Below are some tips for caregivers to help alleviate stress:

1). Get support from others. Caregiver support groups exist to help relieve stress and give caregivers an outlet with others. Find others who are in the same situation as you are and plan monthly or bi-monthly times to simply talk with them.

2). Take time to exercise. While focused on the health of your loved one, you can often forget to take care of your own health. Take time to get outside for a 30 minute walk, get to a gym, or stay physically active each day.

3). Meditate. Meditation is often used to block outside influences and focus on inner peace. Taking time to meditate in a quiet room will help relieve stress and focus your mind and body on overall wellness. As the saying goes, take time for a breather.

4). Spend time alone. Don’t get so wrapped up in caring for others that you don’t care for yourself. Being “on call” 24 hours a day can wear you down. Take time to be alone. Read a book, listen to some music, go for a drive, partake in a hobby, or do something else you love.

5). Continue regular check-ups. Just as important as it is for your loved one to receive medical check-ups, so you need regular medical visits to your doctor. Regularly stop in with your doctor and have him check your health.

6). Indulge yourself. Caring for others means making personal sacrifices each day. Every so often, take time to indulge yourself. Buy a new outfit, go out for ice cream, or indulge yourself in something you enjoy but wouldn’t normally do. Take a vacation, spend time with friends, go out to eat, pamper yourself at a day spa, or find another way to relax.

7). Consider local care. If caring for your loved one becomes too overwhelming, consider local care facilities or in-home help. Don’t feel that you have to take on the care of your loved on all by yourself. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it.

Caring for a loved one can be tiring and can wear on you—physically, emotionally, and mentally. Rather than floundering under the burden of being a caregiver, take time to focus on yourself and care for your own needs. The last thing you need is to become ill yourself, and ending up with two people who need care – yourself and the one you are caring for. If you do take the time to recharge yourself, you will also find that you are a better caregiver!

About Thompson Von Tungeln

Antelope Valley estate planning law firm Thompson Von Tungeln (TVT) offers sophisticated estate planning and administration for the affluent, discriminating client. As Board Certified Specialists in Estate Planning, Trusts and Probate as certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, partners Mark E. Thompson and Kevin L. Von Tungeln are expertly equipped to serve these clients with the creative, effective and custom solutions they demand. For more information, contact TVT at 661-945-5868 or visit their website at

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