Best Practices Journal for Week of April 21, 2014: I remember it as though it was yesterday, although its been nearly 20 years. He was both a participant in our adult day care program and a resident of The Friendly Villa which I owned and managed at the same time. His name was Eugene Sanders. His family relationships were minimal, as his only son was killed in the line of duty as a police officer. Mr. sanders was a contrarian on every level. To tell you some of his shenanigans could turn your stomach.
However, my team and I refused to give up. There were complaints of him going into the rooms of female residents at the wrong time, he sought to quench his sugar cravings going into purses of residents looking for candy and some of the stunts he pulled in the bathroom were beyond comprehension.
A man of 80 years of age I was committed to maintaining his dignity but I knew he was a challenge even for me. So I put a plan together that worked. Here are the steps that may also be helpful for you:
1. Examine why a person is behaving in a disruptive manner. In Mr. Sanders’ case it was purely to get attention, a problem I knew I could easily solve.
2. Develop a meaningful but not belittling outlet to help this person manage this behavior on their own. For Mr. Sanders I made him meal captain. It was his job to invite other residents to the dining area and help them if needed, although a staff member shadowed him. It made him feel 10 feet tall.
3. Engage the resident privately and confidentially. With Mr. Sanders my assistant and I would rotate and make time for him daily, even for just 5 minutes or so to let him tell us what was on his mind. Sometimes it was not related coherently but the outlet and the personal attention made a difference.
Residents in small-scale assisted living or program participants in adult day care will bring behavioral issues. People like you and me just need to be innovative in how we manage them.
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Bruce W. McCollum
Editor-in-Chief – American Care News
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