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Lisa 21st Jun 2018
Hi! I work in an Assisted Living facility as the Activity Director. I was wondering if you have any ideas on how to handle rudeness in residents. Two of them are mostly rude to the people with memory problems. I'm always shocked when they say something that I'm at a loss for words. I also don't want to talk down to the residents and make things worse, but I want to get through to them that it is inappropriate and to practice compassion. Another one interrupts our activities to put people down because they're not talking loud enough for her to her, even if they're not talking to her. I have asked people to be louder, but they often don't speak louder. Any ideas would be appreciated!
Solange 21st Jun 2018
Hi Lisa, unfortunately, in every care facility there will be the sweethearts and difficult ones. Rudeness among peers when mild there is little to do, but in excess, it is often classified as difficult behaviour.
I can suggest one strategy. First of all, it is very important that you calmly take stock of your own emotions. Your body will convey your emotions better than your words. If the rude resident notices that you are seething, even without saying one word, the situation may escalate.
Keep calm and sit in front of the resident (being careful not to invade his space) and maintain eye contact for 60% of the time (more may be seen as confronting). Keep your arms in front of your body (not crossed) and start a conversation using positive language.
--- Betty, you seems to have a different point of view than Anna. Can I explain to you her situation? She is very sad that you hurt her feelings. (Find out what was the cause for the snappy comment or sarcasm; for instance, if the person attacked has Alzheimer's or any other dementia, explain that the person is ill and not out to upset her).
--- May I suggest Betty that next time you ignore Ana or try to talk to her a little.
--- Betty, when she makes you angry one option is to move away or call staff.
Finally, you should tell Betty in the most compassionate and sincere voice:
--- Betty, may I explain to you why I am asking you to be more patient with Ana? It is because this is your home as well as hers and being unkind to each other will not be tolerated at all. I know you are a kind-hearted, caring and generous person and you will try to be nice to Ana in future. Am I right? Smile and ask for a hug.
Remember Lisa, asking a rude resident for understanding and compassionate behaviour has to be as polite as you can be, but relentless. Repeat the above for as long as it is needed and the penny will hopefully drop!
The above does not suit aggressive residents. You need professional help to deal with aggressiveness. Hope it helps.
Morgan 23rd Jun 2018
I have one resident who does similar things, they laugh when residents get something wrong, shake their head, and say things like they can't do this or that when they are capable, it just takes longer. They are very rude and kind of a bully to other residents who are a little slower either due to memory or motor skill function. How I handle it is if they are being rude, or scolding someone, I just look at them and say 'its ok (insert name here), I have it handled.' I say this friendly, but stern enough that they know to not do it again. Sometimes it takes them four or five times of me doing this to catch on (they have memory problems themselves that they do not realize they have) but they usually catch on. I have to do this for each activity, and I would do this for each resident who is mean, but thankfully it is only the one I have an issue with. It has gotten very bad before and when that happened, I had our nursing supervisor step in and have a conversation with her letting them know that bullying behavior will not be tolerated. This particular resident does not tend to have the respect for me that if I were to have that conversation with her, it would go in one ear and out the other or she would deny that she does that. Of course she has forgotten the conversation with our nursing supervisor, but I know that administration has my back and is invested in the happiness of all residents and they would step in if I asked them or if they needed to.

I hope that this helps a little bit, I know that bad attitudes and bullying are the worst part of my job, and I imagine it is the same for you.
Laurie 6th Jul 2018
Before each activity I remind the residents that we all have different issues. I say some people are hard of hearing, some people have vision problems, some have fine motor or gross motor problems and some have problems with their memory. And all of us deserve to be respected and allowed to participate. I thank them in advance for their kindness and patience.
Nori 7th Jul 2018
Laurie, Morgan, and Solange all have amazing ideas, and I second them!

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