If at first you don’t succeed…well, you know the rest: Try, try again!
How often do we ask residents to join us for exercise class or another activity, have them say “no”, and we say “ok” and move on to the next person. Then after a few no thank-you’s from them, we give up asking altogether. The thing is, with older adults—especially those with cognitive decline—we need to keep asking.
Why do residents refuse to participate in activities? Some reasons to consider:
- They are in pain
- They are depressed
- They are intimidated by large groups or new people
- They are afraid they won’t be able to keep up with the activity
- They don’t understand what you are asking them to do
- They are afraid of falling
- They have poor hearing or eyesight
- They are incontinent and don’t want to go too far from the bathroom
And the list goes on.
Consider these possible reasons and how you can address them. Also, remember that residents often mirror your attitude, so if you appear enthusiastic about having them join you, they will likely feel that enthusiasm too. If you ask them in a way that seems like you don’t care whether they come or not, then that’s how they may feel. They may feel that they’re not worth the trouble.
In any event, whether a person has said no to you 5 times or 500 times, don’t give up! The 501st time may be the one where they decide to come—if only to stop your nagging. And that 501st time can change their life. We’ve seen it happen.