As we age, most people want to remain in the comfort and familiarity of their own home. However, as we grow older, coping with day to day tasks can get more and more difficult. In most situations it becomes clear when it’s time to get Mum or Dad some extra help and many elderly people gratefully accept assistance.
But what happens if your elderly loved one resists any attempts for extra help to remain living at home? For many families, this situation can be particularly distressing.
There are some things that you can do to accept help but before taking any action, it can be useful to understand some of the reasons that may be behind your loved one’s resistance to getting the help they need.
Understanding the Reasons for Resistance
When an elderly person needs help, they are often coping with the loss of physical or mental capabilities and it can be difficult for them to accept that what was once routine is now something they can no longer do. For many the thought of getting help to compensate for their loss is an uncomfortable one. It may mean having to adjust to new routines and relinquishing control over everyday decisions such as what to eat or drink or when to go to bed. Having strange people in the house with the associated loss of privacy is also one that makes many people uneasy. In addition, you may also find that your loved one is worried about the costs that come with getting in home care and they don’t want to be a burden on family and friends. As a result, these concerns can cause your loved to resist offers of help which in turn can leave them isolated and more vulnerable than ever.
So, what can be done to persuade them to accept your offers to get them help?
Breaking Down the Barriers to Accepting Help at Home
When approaching your loved one it is important to remember that everyone is human and wants to feel useful. A key part of maintaining self-esteem is to be able to make decisions that satisfy your own wants and needs. If your loved one feels they are part of the decision-making process, then they are far more likely to be open to your suggestions. With that in mind, here are some steps you can take to help overcome your loved one’s resistance to care:
- Make their future plans a part of everyday conversation. Ask your loved one how they would like to live their life and what is important to them, so they start thinking about things straight away. Talk about how to stay active in both body and mind and discuss ways in which this might be achieved.
- Develop a Plan. Work on what your loved one likes to do now and what they might like to do in the future. Discuss how they can go about optimising their quality of life while maintaining their independence and work out the steps needed to make this happen including any help that might be needed.
- Ask questions to understand any negativity. If you are encountering resistance at this point, ask gentle questions to try and understand where it is coming from. Be frank about the impact caring for them is having on you and explain that knowing they are safe will give you peace of mind.
- Do your research. Thoroughly investigate all your care-giving options so you know what is available and how much it is likely to cost. When the time comes to suggest some professional help, explain to your loved one that you have thoroughly explored all the options and that you have found the best possible care available.
- Pick the right time. When it comes to suggesting getting care, don’t bring up the topic out of the blue when your loved one is not ready. Call them and suggest that you’d like to make a convenient time when you can sit down and discuss their care options. This gives your loved one time to consider what they want so they are less likely to feel pressured and more likely to be open to any suggestions you make.
- Suggest a trial. If they are resistant to taking on permanent care, ask your loved one to try having a cleaner or having meals prepared for them for a fixed period. Tell them it’s a trial and if it doesn’t work then it’s only for a short time. This allows them to see what receiving help feels like and a positive experience can quickly turn what was a temporary solution into an ongoing arrangement.
- Try bringing in the professionals. Sometimes when all else fails it helps to get someone trusted like a family doctor, lawyer, religious leader or other healthcare professional to explain why they need extra care. Someone with authority who can provide independent advice and validate your perspective may be just what is needed to break down the barriers.
- Respect their decision. At the end of the day if your loved one still resists and is of sound mind, then respect their decision. Address any immediate safety issues and don’t let any resentment linger that may cause issues that have to be overcome later.
- Don’t give up. Circumstances and opinions change over time, so you may get a different result when you bring up the topic of getting extra help again at a later date.
Colbrow Care Provides Quality Home Care for the Elderly in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney
For over 60 years, Colbrow Care has been helping elderly Australians stay safe and maintain their independence in the comfort of their own home. Our professionals can tailor a home care solution specifically suited to your individual needs. We will explain to you all of your options including what government subsides you may be eligible for so getting the help you need may be more affordable than you think. If you are encountering resistance from your elderly loved one, we can help you open up discussions in a respectful and gentle way so they can transition to home care without feeling threatened.
To find out how you can have the peace of mind of knowing your loved one has the care they need call 1300 33 11 03 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org today.