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.
Free Bonus: Click here to get access to a free EBOOK that shows you how to recognize the warning signs that your aging parent may not be safe at home.
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.
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.
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!