It may be obvious to family members that an aging parent or relative needs assistance at home. But the senior may view the situation differently and refuse help. When older loved ones resist support, it’s still critical to ensure they receive it. Here are ways to open up the dialogue.
Adult children are not alone when aging parents refuse help that could significantly improve their quality of life. Approximately 77 percent of adult children believe their older parents act out of stubborn defiance and do not accept the support they need.
1. Understand their perspective
How do concerned family members convince the aging loved ones in their life to accept assistance? The first step is to recognize their need for autonomy. Seniors prioritize their freedom. In their view, a professional caregiver will only hinder their independence.
The reality is that professional caregivers support the independence of their elderly care recipients. By helping the senior understand how caregiving works, they may be more willing to accept help. Families who understand that aging is a difficult process can approach the topic with sensitivity.
2. Assess their current abilities
An elderly loved one may still be able to function in certain areas. The senior may enjoy cooking, for instance, and has the physical endurance to stand over a hot stove. On the other hand, their home may be a mess, indicating the need for professional house cleaning.
Rather than attempt to make major changes overnight, families should gradually introduce professional assistance. Allow the senior to continue preparing meals, while engaging a professional caregiver to handle the housework. Remember that the choice to accept care is up to the senior.
3. Communicate with respect
Talking down to an older adult is ineffective, as are nagging and giving orders. Treat the senior with respect, even when they appear to behave irrationally or act out of stubbornness. Families do not succeed when they give orders to an autonomous senior.
What helps families succeed is asking open-ended questions that prompt the senior to think. For example, ask the individual how they feel about getting support with housecleaning. Questions like this encourage the senior to consider the issue without feeling defensive.
4. Start with pressing issues
Discuss the concerns that are most important, like the senior’s safety. If the aging adult is prone to falls, it is reasonable to bring up the topic of a professional caregiver who can assess the home for fall risks and call for emergency help if an injury is sustained.
Once the most critical concerns are heard and suitably addressed, it is appropriate for family members to bring attention to minor issues, such as the older adult updating a phone, joining a senior exercise group, or completing other non-essential tasks.
5. Be persistent
Change is not easy, especially for seniors who have been accustomed to their way of life for decades. Families make little progress after one conversation. They may need to calmly persist in helping the senior accept changes, like minor adjustments to their diet.
When broaching the topic of extra assistance, do so when the senior is relaxed. A stressed older adult will not accept anything being said. Likewise, the family member should be in a calm state of mind when asking the senior to make changes. Otherwise, the conversation becomes difficult.
6. Offer options
Even the best of intentions can be met with resistance. Seniors have the right to make their own choices, so family members should respond with flexibility. Being adaptable allows families peace of mind when the senior ignores their advice and recommendations.
An aging spouse with a blood disorder, for instance, may wish to vacation abroad with her husband who has dementia. Adult children can do little to stop them, but they can suggest buying medical jet insurance. If the trip goes awry, the family can be ready to jump in.
7. Create a support network
The advice of an objective third party can be the turning point for convincing an aging senior to accept help. The older adult is more likely to listen to a respected doctor, religious leader, or neighbor. When these individuals express similar concerns about the senior’s safety or health, it becomes important.
Developing a support network of relatives, friends, and professionals is beneficial for the senior. In the event the older adult needs help, the social network is their first and most reliable source of support. Professionals can include geriatric care managers or professional caregivers, for instance.
Professional caregivers from a home care agency are the biggest advocates for elderly care recipients. These caregivers become acquainted with the senior’s health and lifestyle and can inform families when situations or health are amiss. Caregivers also support the seniors’ independence, making it a win-win.
Non-medical home health care from Assisting Hands Home Care should be a vital component of a senior’s care plan. Our professional caregivers can provide the elderly with the in-home support they need to age in place and live the independent lifestyle they desire.
Care services include help with the activities of daily living. We provide discreet assistance with hygiene tasks, like toileting, bathing, dressing, and grooming. Your aging loved one will feel comfortable and confident with our daily support. Personal hygiene is an important contributor to overall health.
Caregivers prepare nutritious meals, shop for groceries, and give timely medication reminders. We also provide transportation to areas in the community, like doctors’ offices or the post office. The senior’s home is kept clean and maintained by our light housekeeping services.
As pleasant companions who engage in conversations, we keep loneliness and social isolation at bay. Caregivers from our home care agency are matched with seniors to ensure compatibility. We promote independence whenever possible, as this can boost the senior’s self-confidence and self-esteem.
If your aging loved one refuses help, telling them about the compassionate care from Assisting Hands Home Care can change their mind. We are privileged to serve seniors in Collegeville, King of Prussia, Limerick, Norristown, West Norriton, Pennsylvania, and nearby areas. Schedule a free in-home consult and learn about quality senior home care.