Not all the senior citizens will get cranky with you all the time. You may however encounter a situation where you may find it difficult to deal with an awkwardly behaving senior citizen. Such behaviors are observed in many senior citizens and it could be attributed to the old age. But other than the age, there could be other deep rooted problems which have perhaps not been addressed by their close ones or family members. Sometimes some senior citizens’ behavior becomes cranky because of loneliness and lack of attention. Irrespective of their behavior senior citizens need to be respected. This is how you can deal with a cranky senior citizen.
Be respectful and don’t behave rudely with them
When a senior citizen is behaving inappropriately with you, do not get rude to them. Your first step should be to avoid giving any reaction. So the first thing you need to do is calm yourself even if you are feeling angry or annoyed. You need to make sure that your behavior remains respectful to the senior citizen no matter how they are behaving.
It is not always easy to control your emotions when someone is behaving improperly with you. But that someone is a senior citizen and you don’t even know what he might be going through. To calm yourself down you may wait for a while to lessen your anger or the urge to respond rudely.
Be sure that you are not judging them wrongly
Sometimes when someone doesn’t talk to us the way we want to we assume that they are being cranky. It is quite possible that they don’t mean any disrespect to you. Perhaps it is just the way they talk to everyone. It is also quite possible that they have a genuine concern or complaint with you. You may be able to address it and take care of the situation cordially.
Sometimes our own ego doesn’t allow us to accept the possibility that we could be wrong too. Do not let your ego take the front seat especially when dealing with senior citizens. Your ego might be telling you that the other person is being cranky because it doesn’t want you to accept your own fault.
Ask them respectfully what is wrong
Stay polite and respectful and ask them nicely what the matter is. Perhaps there is a misunderstanding which could be sorted out by talking. When someone is angry you cannot handle the situation by getting angry yourself. Sometimes the only way to handle the situation is by letting the other person vent out.
Be sincere in your approach and tell the other person that you respect them and their age. Even if you think it is not your mistake, there is no harm in saying sorry to a senior citizen. You will be able to calm them down by being kind and polite. If you are genuine in your heart, they will notice it and perhaps it will change the things.
Let them vent out their anger
If your attempts have failed so far don’t be discouraged. A fire will remain aflame as long as it is fuelled. Once the fuel is over, fire will extinguish. Even if the senior citizen doesn’t stop being cranky with you, do not fuel their fire by being cranky yourself. Stay respectful and wait for them to vent out whatever they have to. A lot of senior citizens are so lonely and cut out from social life they don’t even know how to deal with people. They have so much inside them to share but there is no one with whom they can. When they find someone they may not realize that they are just venting out what has been buried inside them. If you will let them speak, eventually they will stop. You may have to face their ire but in the end you would have helped a person in need.
All the while an elderly person is venting out his anger or frustration at you, keep passing on the subtle hints that you can take whatever they have to give. You are there for them. You can do this by nodding frequently and occasionally saying things like, “I agree”, “I understand”, “I know what you mean.”
Try to help them with small things if needed
Extend your help to them if they need it. For instance, if the senior citizen is holding bags with things he has just purchased from a grocery store, ask him to carry them for him. If he is not able to cross the road, offer him assistance to help him cross the road. These small gestures can go a long way in mellowing him down. Even if an elderly person is not angry, you should try and help him by offering assistance.
If the senior citizen is being cranky because of some pain or medical condition immediately offer to take him to a doctor. Even if he disagrees, you must insist.