Does this scenario sound familiar?
You have a senior family member or friend that requires additional help and you've accepted the responsibility as a caregiver. Over time your loved one has reached a point where they need more help than you can provide alone. You discuss alternate options but time and again they refuse in-home help and insist that you can do the job. What they don't seem to realize is that you are getting exhausted, frustrated, or on the edge of burn out—yet they still refuse.
This is undoubtedly a tough predicament and hopefully, it is not the case for you and your loved one. If it is, however, please understand that it is very common for seniors to refuse support and insist on their own independence, even when it is no longer the safe option.
A senior family members resistance to care can often be extremely frustrating and difficult to overcome but we need to acknowledge the motivation for this response. Understanding their rationale is paramount to moving forward.
Generally speaking, this type of reaction is motivated by fear. Our loved one may be afraid of losing control or simply fear change itself. Possibly they are afraid of the financial implications inherent in health care or it could be the fear of being perceived as "weak". Maybe they sincerely enjoy spending time with you and fear to lose that connection.
Regardless, we need to understand and address these fears in a compassionate and careful manner. These situations can be extremely complex and no two motivations are the same.
Several in-depth articles have been written with specific techniques to deal with this transition. For further reading, one that we recommend can be found here. For the purpose of this article, however, we wanted to outline a few underlying strategies for dealing with most situations.
Whatever the specific fear is, here are a few strategies we recommend to overcome them and get your loved one the care they need.
1. Take Time to Listen
Take the time to listen to your loved one's fears and reasons for refusing in-home care. Put yourself in their shoes and work together towards a resolution. If possible involve them in the decision making. This will help create personal investment in whatever services you ultimately decide to entrust to an in-home caregiver.
2. Be Patient and Start Slow
Understand that it may take several conversations with your loved one and the care giving agency to start making progress. Even then, it's best to start slow and go at their pace. Starting slowly allows them to acclimate to the change and develop the necessary relationships with the new caregiver. You can start with less intrusive services like running errands and gradually add hours and services as the situation permits.
3. Provide Reassurance
Help your loved ones understand that change is normal and that they are not in this alone. Take time to comfort their specific fears and address the positives they will gain from the new experience. For instance, if they are afraid of losing you, reassure them that with help you will actually be able to spend more quality time with them.
4. Accept Your Limitations
Understand that we all have our breaking point. If you are weary or feel unfit to provide care be honest about your shortcomings and don't allow them to interfere with getting your loved one the help they (and you) need. Additionally, the suggestions above work well if our loved one is not a danger to themselves or someone else. If the opposite is the case, do not feel guilty in recruiting a professional to help you navigate the process.
Getting our loved ones the help they need is important not only to them but to you as well. While they may be resistant to the idea, remember that a licensed in-home care agency can help guide and ease you through the process.
We recognize that these are important decisions and this is a very delicate time. Home by Choice assures you that we will work alongside you to provide the personalized care your loved one needs.
To get started, please contact us today for a free in-home consultation.