Overcoming Resistance to Senior Care
It can be very difficult on everyone involved when a loved one who may need assisted care, is resistant to the idea. By understanding and alleviating the reasons for such resistance, you and your loved ones can ensure a cooperative and healthy approach to their ongoing care.
A senior who is potentially in need of care is usually dealing with a loss of some kind, be it physical or mental loss. They may view the offer of assisted care as additional losses; loss of their privacy and independence. The overall result of these losses can leave a senior feeling frightened, vulnerable, angry and even guilty about the idea of being a burden to others.
In some cases, your loved one might be stubborn, have mental health concerns or simply think it’s a sign of weakness to accept help. He or she might also be worried about the cost of certain types of care.
The best way to approach the topic of assisted care is by first outlining what type of services the senior may need. Once you have what you feel is an honest assessment of the current needs, try to find a time when all parties involved can have relaxed, thoughtful and considerate conversation about assisted care.
Conversation is a two way street, so along with voicing concerns and goals, seniors should talk about what types of services they may need or want. By taking everyone’s thoughts into consideration, keeping matters simple and focused, you can continue moving towards the final decision.
Sometimes it may be necessary to enlist family and friends in your decision-making efforts or to help persuade your loved one to accept help. It’s important to remember that this is a big decision for seniors and may not be something they are willing to discuss at first. The matter of assisted care may be one that both of you will have to continue to revisit.
When it comes to accepting care, there are some options you may want to consider.
- Suggest a trial run. Don’t ask a senior to make a final decision about the kind of care they receive right away. A trial run will can give them a chance to test the waters and experience the benefits of assistance.
- Describe care in a positive way. Talk about a home care provider as a friend and someone with whom they can experience new things.
- Discuss how a home care provider can expand their options for activities and mobility.
- Pick your battles. Do your best to understand your loved one’s point of view, and focus on the big picture. Avoid fighting with your loved one about minor issues related to his or her care.
- Explain how care might prolong independence. Accepting some assistance might help your loved one remain in his or her home for as long as possible.
- Help your loved one cope with the loss of independence. Explain to your loved one that loss of independence isn’t a personal failing and that assisted care can actually provide them with more autonomy and the ability to stay more active. With a home care provider, the options to get outside the home, visit others and interact will likely increase.
If a senior is continually resistant to care, resulting in them becoming a danger to themselves or others, you may need to enlist professional help. Like many people, young or old, when given the facts by a doctor, lawyer, clergy or other appropriate professional, people tend to take notice and begin dealing with the matters at hand.
Resistance to care is a challenge that many people face throughout their lives. By keeping your loved ones involved in decisions about assisted care and explaining the benefits, everyone can feel more comfortable about the necessary changes.