Caring For Your Elderly Loved One Who Is Resisting Help

Caring For Your Elderly Loved One Who Is Resisting Help

It is no secret that caring for an elderly person comes with a set of challenges that are impossible to fully prepare for, but how do you help a loved one who is resistant to help? You must be able to understand why there is resistance to care in order to implement strategies that may foster cooperation.

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Why a Senior May Need Care

If your loved one has found themselves in need of care, they have likely experienced or are experiencing a loss of some kind — a mental or psychological loss, loss of independence, or a physical loss such as reduced mobility or sensation. Accepting elder care means that they likely have to adjust to new routines as well as relinquish their privacy. This can lead to feelings of vulnerability, anger, fear, or guilt. In addition, your loved one who needs supportive care, might come to the conclusion that they have become a burden on the family.

In other cases, your loved one may actually be in denial and become “stubborn” and resistant to any suggestions or offers of assistance. They may have mental health concerns, or, they simply may not want to compromise their pride. They might also worry about the cost of professional elder care; concerned that it is too high. Furthermore, cognitive loss as a result of illness might make it difficult for them to understand why the extra care is even necessary. They may not recognize the safety concerns that you worry about. It is important to approach the subject of supportive care relaxed and prepared . Having the presence of other family members or a healthcare practitioner during an initial conversation about getting help may also help.

Managing Resistance to Care

It is likely that your loved one will initially resist accepting elder care, but there are a few strategies that can help ease the static. For example, you can suggest a trial run of the service. Do not rush them into making a decision, and give them a chance to see the benefits without being thrown into it unwillingly. Describe how at-home senior care can assist them to maintain their independence and remain living in their own home with a little support. You may list how this kind of support would be beneficial to their overall well-being. When explaining why this care is necessary, it is important to pick your battles wisely, as any of these conversations could turn into an argument which would not be pleasant for either of you. Sometimes getting help is an absolute necessity and may become your final decision in case your loved one does not have the cognitive ability to make the healthiest decision on their own.

Keep in mind that with elder care and support at home, it is possible that your loved one can prolong their independence as they age in place. However, when independence diminishes over time, don’t look at it as a failure, but rather as a part of life. The Important thing is that the individual is supported to live to their highest potential under any circumstance.

When the time comes to think about home care assistance for a loved one, remember not to go into the conversation with preconceived notions. Their reaction could be anywhere on the spectrum, but you should remain level-headed and stay positive. Explain that this is not a complete takeover of their life, just some added assistance because they need more care than you can provide by yourself, and you need some respite!

If your loved one continues to put up a fight (resisting care), has cognitive decline that impairs their judgement, or is at risk for injury if left alone at home, seek the help of a professional. Some individuals may be more inclined to listen to a doctor, nurse, care manager, or lawyer about the importance of accepting help at home. Other times, such as in severe cognitive impairment, the choice for home care lies solely on you, the family caregiver, as the individual cannot make such decisions on their own. A senior with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease relies on you to help maintain their safety and well being even if they don’t feel they need the help.

Things To Consider When Caring For Elderly Parents At Home

Many individuals in the so-called “Baby Boomer” generation are starting to find that as they begin to prepare for or enter into their often much-anticipated retirement years, new considerations not previously planned for are cropping up with regard to the care of their elderly parents. Since people are living much longer, often well into their 90s, the Baby Boomer generation will have to start to reorganize their lives to include the care of their elderly parents. Enjoying the presence of our parents in our lives much longer than we previously anticipated can be highly rewarding. However, there can be some extremely challenging situations to deal with through the process.

  1. Hold a discussion with all family members that will be involved in the care of the elderly parent to address all financial, medical, lifestyle, and logistical considerations. Some important considerations include who the parent will live with; how the integration of caring for the parent will affect current lifestyle schedules; the preparation of a power of attorney and living will to address any issues should the parent become incapacitated; financial planning to include the added expense of the elder parents medical and living care needs; and, the best way to care for and maintain a positive environment for all involved as far as addressing the emotional needs of the elder parent and the caregivers.
  2. As you notice your elder parent start to suffer minor health decline in areas such as hearing, vision, memory, and overall physical strength and capabilities, design a plan to adapt to these changes effectively and adequately while at the same time creating an atmosphere of normalcy, respect, and care for all involved. For example, if you notice your elder parent beginning to need more physical assistance or help with their memory, it is important to assist your parent as necessary while at the same time respecting their continued independence and role as your parent. Encouraging your elder parent to allow your assistance instead of forcing it upon them will lessen the anxiety and fear of the changes that may be occurring.
  3. Avoid stereotyping the idea of growing old and aging as an illness or disability, and instead honor the blessings that being able to grow old really offers us as human beings. People often see older people as suffering, debilitated, and afraid because they are growing ever near to the end of their physical life, and their physical bodies are not as active as they once were. Another perspective is to view growing old as an opportunity to relax, reflect, enjoy the wisdom gained, and cherish the memories attained from a long life of experiences and achievements. Allowing all that wisdom to be shared, and celebrating and seeing the value in that wisdom may assist you in your current life’s journey.
  4. Caring for an elderly parent will not always be an easy and highly enjoyable task, but if you can remind yourself and those in your family to work hard to control the stress placed upon yourselves and your parents, the process can be much easier. For example, institute changes onto the aging parent and yourselves slowly when possible, so all can acclimate more easily. Change for anyone at any age is always somewhat difficult, so the easier everyone can make it, the better it will happen. Explore senior home care options and respite care for seniors when you (the caregiver) need a bit of time off to care for yourself.
  5. Remind yourself and your family that your elderly parent is still that person who once was strong and vibrant, and the one who took care of you emotionally, physically and financially. Talk to your elderly parent as an equal and don’t talk at them or treat them like a child or someone who is disabled. Listen to them and their needs or desires; encourage and support their independence for as long as possible; keep things light and fun when possible. Most importantly, remember to allow all of you to maintain your own lives apart from the job of caring for mom and dad. This will help ensure that caregiving becomes a part of your family life that is enjoyed and celebrated and not viewed as a chore or burden.

Integrating the care of your elderly parent into your family’s life can be a daunting and highly emotionally charged task, but if approached with the right amount of careful planning, consideration and awareness it can be one of the most enjoyable times in both you and your elder parent’s lives. Savor this opportunity to be able to spend more quality time with your elder parent and gain the wisdom and life experience that they have worked hard to earn and celebrate with you.

If you or your family member needs a helping hand in providing exceptional care for an aging loved one, or, if you just need to talk to someone about your concerns, our caring staff is always available to listen. Gives us a call today, or send us an email. Feel free to share your own senior care tips in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!

Have questions about our in-homecare services? Want to learn more? You may call us directly at (877) 365-2233 or contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

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