Difficult clients are part and parcel of the caregiving business.
Sometimes, they may be unhappy with the service you provide.
They become overly stubborn and difficult when they feel you should be doing a better job for the money they are paying.
And sometimes you get to meet those with expectations way out of reality. They ask for ‘favors’ that are not in your job descriptions and they don’t do so in the most polite ways.
At other times, they just have a whack personality that clashes with yours, your goal, and your company’s values.
Regardless of the reason, working with difficult clients can be unnerving.
At the same time, they can easily become your greatest learning source and a stepping stone toward becoming a better caregiver.
What matters the most is how you react to them. They can become your worst nightmare.
Or you can take their attitude with a pinch of salt and make them your greatest learning source.
What you don’t have much power over, however, is how these difficult clients react to you or any situation you are in with them.
Table of Contents
- How to Respond to a Difficult Client as a Caregiver
How to Respond to a Difficult Client as a Caregiver
1. Be patient and understanding
If the person you’re taking care of must rely on others to do the things he normally does for himself, like going to places and eating, he may feel a loss of control over his life.
Sometimes, such a client may feel frustrated over his inability to do the simplest things for himself. This can easily impact his personality and make him meaner than he would normally be.
Having any form of disability or getting older and frail is never easy to deal with for a lot of people.
As such, you must be patient with them and understanding of their plight while taking care of such clients.
A lot of times, they are probably not even angry at you or your inability to provide them with good care.
Instead, they are angry with themselves for not being able to hold the spoon or their food and relying on other people to do that for them.
2. Learn to listen more and make corrections
People love to be listened to.
Even more importantly, they want to be assured that their views and opinions matter, especially when it comes to their welfare.
As a caregiver, you are responsible for a lot of things about your clients. They know that their lives are hanging in your balance a lot of the time.
So, they want to know and be assured that you will always have their best interests at heart.
And what better way is there for them to know this than by the way you listen and respond to their opinions and assertions?
Listening to a difficult client can easily help ease a tense situation, particularly when you not only pay attention to what they are saying but also take prompt actions to make amendments.
Listening can also help you to recognize emotional manipulations easily.
Emotional manipulation is quite common among difficult clients.
Instead of asking for favors politely, they would rather guilt trip, shame, cry or outrightly get angry at you to get something from you or make you more compliant to their request.
By listening attentively and paying close attention to their talks and attitude, you can easily detect emotional manipulations in their conversations and deal with them without going into shouting fits or arguing back and forth with them.
3. Build trust
A lot of the problems you are going to have with difficult clients will stem from a lack of trust.
Most clients don’t trust a stranger in their homes. Some may feel that your presence in their home makes them more vulnerable.
Such paranoid clients tend to become meaner to you.
They will shout and curse at the slightest provocation, all in a bid to get you out of their home and life quickly.
When starting with a new client, you might want to start out by showing that they can trust you. Sometimes, this might mean coming in with someone that they trust and have respect for.
It could be a friend of your client or one of their loved ones.
By getting into their lives through the help of someone dear to them, they tend to become more receptive and trusting.
As your relationship progresses with them, you might want to continue finding newer ways to build on this initial trust.
4. Don’t take their behavior personally
Let each day with your clients be a brand new day. Segregate the activities of each day in such a way that the bad behaviors of yesterday won’t matter today.
By learning to be more forgiving of your client’s attitudes, you tend to be more open to them and allow them to turn a new leaf.
Your clients, like everyone else, might be having a situation or a problem at hand that has caused them to act rudely towards you on your first day with them or every day you are with them.
But you don’t have to judge them every day by the mistake they made a week, month, or day before.
Each time you come to take care of them, let it be that you have let go of that previous offense and start again with a brand new opportunity.
5. Understand their triggers
Everyone has a trigger. Something that can get under your skin and make you react angrily. Difficult clients also have those.
One of the best ways to deal with a difficult client is to find those triggers and learn to avoid them altogether.
Find out about their likes and dislikes and then stay away from their dislikes as much as you can.
6. Remain calm
Remember that you cannot control what your client does or say in any given situation but you can easily control your input.
As such, when your client is becoming very stubborn and getting into rage fits, you might want to control your input in the situation.
Joining in and reacting angrily in response to their actions can easily escalate the situation.
Keep your temper in check at all times around your client.
Instead of responding to all their accusations, you might want to remain calm and wait till the situation has died down before making clarifications and giving your opinions.
7. Use positive language
The way you talk to your clients and the words you choose to use can make a big difference.
Instead of using negative words that place blame on them, pointing out their faults, or making demands in a tense situation, use positive words of encouragement and make them calmer so that they can discuss their issues with you.
Getting them to open up to you without feeling guilty or threatened can make them less stubborn because they know that you’re not out to accuse them or blame them for emotions that may be out of their control.
Some clients are hard to deal with regardless of what you do to make them easier to work with.
Some may be resentful of your personality and some just don’t want other people to disturb them in the name of caring for them.
While you can’t control how your clients feel or talk to you, you can control how you feel and respond to situations.