More often than not, an aging loved one is resisting care. They may be in denial that they need help. They may be to proud to ask for help. They may not want their children acting like their parents. Whatever the reason, it sure makes it harder for the caregiver to talk about bringing help in – or moving!!
If you see that your family member needs care, but will not accept it, what can you do?
- Approach the person with respect. The person should still be in charge of their care (if possible.) You may want to step in the role of a facilitator of decisions instead of the maker of decisions.
- Watch for openings in conversation. For example, “You mentioned you were bored (or tired, or lonely)…are you having trouble keeping up with things around the house? Would you like to be around more people?”
- If they don’t think they need help, give examples of instances that have caused you concern in the past.
Talk about your needs too. Sometimes parents won’t accept care on their own behalf but if they believe it will lessen the burden on their family they will. Of course we all know families where the parents expect their children to take care of them. You need to explain that you have a family of your own and a job and that it is becoming a burden.
Also, phrases like ” I’m sure you could do it yourself, but it would make me feel better to do it for you or get someone to do it for you.”
Don’t give up. If they are resisting care, my guess is they will continue to for a while. Be persistent but not nagging. Take advantage of any window of opportunity such as help during an illness or following a hospital stay. They may find out they like it.