Do you live with the character Grumpy from Snow White? I do, well not all the time, only when he’s really hungry. I’m a caregiver for my husband, who became disabled when he fell in the kitchen. He’s much better now, but he has Diabetes too. Did you know that Diabetics need to eat about every 4-5 hours so their blood sugar remains constant? If their blood sugar drops too low they could go into a coma and die, if not treated promptly, it could go too high and they could stroke out. Either way, not a good outcome. So when he’s Grumpy, it’s a sign to me that his blood sugar is out of whack and he needs to eat something right away. I just read an interesting article on Caring.com by Paula Spencer Scott and Carol O’Dell with strategies how to cope with Difficult People. It gave me some insight of how to help my husband when this happens, in addition to feeding him. Granted, not every Grump is diabetic, so it’s helpful in many other situations too. I’ve paraphrased their strategies below but they get all the credit for these excellent suggestions. I was glad to know these tips. I think you will be too.
1. Give the grump a little acknowledgment.
When someone is in a bad mood there might be hurt feelings behind a scowl. Try kneeling down, look them in the eye and give them a hug or a pat on the hand and say, “I know you are having a rough day”. “What can I do to make it better?” Maybe they are scared or just lonely and need someone to talk to about their feelings.
2. Shake up the status quo.
To change the mood, sometimes it helps to change the scene. If they’ve been cooped up all day inside, try taking them outside or for a short walk or short drive. Get up and walk around, go to another room in the house. Make something new for lunch or go out to eat if you can. Suggest they take a bath and get dressed up. Of course, this will probably require extra effort on the caregiver’s part, but it just might be worth it.
3. Tease or flirt away a challenging moment.
Try kidding them, or teasing them a little. React in a lighthearted way: “Oh, come on, Mr. Sourpuss, let’s see if you still hate me after breakfast.” Of course you know your loved one best, and what kind of humor he or she might respond to. But a little ribbing can sometimes help them see his or her mood for what it is.
4. Tune out a bad mood with music.
You don’t have to call attention to the grumpiness, try putting on a CD or radio station playing light upbeat music that you know they enjoy. Research shows that our very heart rates react to lively upbeat music. This means that its power to lift someone’s mood may be partly biological. I believe it is, I know it gets me in a much better, feel good mood.
5. Coax the blues away with treats.
Try offering a treat that helps the issue at hand, perhaps a bouquet of flowers, a favorite cup of tea, a special movie to watch together. If you offer to engage in a favorite activity you might be able to barter for a little cooperation from them from time to time. Sometimes, seeing you make the effort is enough to soften some grumps and some sweet-talking can surely help.
Hope you find these suggestions helpful with your “Grump”, I certainly did. Have a great day!