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What to Do When Your Loved One is Resistant to Care

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Many seniors are resistant to care even when they genuinely need help. It's a challenge many of us face when dealing with our aging loved ones. How do you help someone that doesn't want to be helped? How do we make it clear that help is needed without coming across as forceful or disrespectful?

It's important to get to the root of why they may be resisting care, and to create a strategy to ensure our loved ones get the help they need. And let's face it, a lot of families could use the respite.
Let's look at why someone could be resistant to care.

If someone you love is in need of care, they are most likely feeling at a loss, either physically, or mentally. Sometimes it's the loss of a spouse, or the loss of being independent and making your own decisions. It can leave a person feeling a like a burden to their family, making them feel guilty. It means changing routines, allowing strangers into your private space. It means feeling vulnerable at times. Sometimes, your loved one might simply be stubborn, or see the need for help as a weakness. Financial aspects could also play into the equation.

In short, it's a BIG life change.

So what do you do?

First, it's important to determine what help is needed. Do they need help with household chores? Meal preparation? Maybe they've become fearful of cooking or have had some recent accidents. Perhaps some companionship is needed, or maybe they need help bathing and grooming themselves. Pinpoint their needs, identify their core beliefs and values, what's important to them.

Pick a time when your loved one is relaxed and calm to discuss the option of outside help. Take the time needed to develop trust between you and your loved one. This will give you the time you need to collect information about his/her identity and may make them more receptive to care.

Find out your loved ones preferences. Ask them, who they would like to be in charge of their care. Maybe it's the oldest daughter, or son. Maybe it's another relative they trust. Ask them what types of services they would prefer. Keep them involved in the decision making.

Ask for help from the rest of the family. The more people in the know, the more informed choices they can make. If enough people in the family suggest outside care, your loved one may listen.

If your loved one doesn't want to talk about it the first time you bring it up, wait for another time. Don't give up, stay the course, and choose another time to discuss enlisting help.

Maybe try a trial run just to test the waters before your loved one commits to ongoing care. We often experience that when the fear of the unknown is removed they actually like having someone around.  

Explain that you may need help as well, and that this can help make YOUR life easier too. Sometimes it's important to compromise for the health and safety of everyone involved.

Make outside care feel like a positive thing. Refer to the home care provider as a friend, talk about fun activities your loved one and their new friend can enjoy together, or how their friend can help with everyday activities. Then when you’re around, you can have time to be a son or daughter again.

Focus on the big picture. Try your best to understand your loved one's point of view and avoid fighting about minor issues surrounding their care. Remember, you need trust.

If your loved one is suffering from Alzheimer's or dementia, these tips may not be enough. You may need to enlist the help of a doctor, a care manager, or even a lawyer if they continue to be resistant, or are in danger of injuring themselves.

Resistance is a common challenge we all face as our loved ones age. Keep them involved in the decision making as much as possible, and continue to explain the benefits of outside help. 

Most importantly,

Make the call to talk to an expert


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