When Your Elders Refuse Help

Imagine yourself in your loved one’s shoes. It’s not easy to hear that you are no longer as capable to care for yourself as you once were. Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E. can be your helping hand when you need a support system during what can be a challenging time—for you and for your loved one.
When Your Elders Refuse Help

Put yourself for a moment in the shoes of your elders. It’s not so hard to imagine: your kids or grandkids come to you and tell you that it’s time. You need help caring for yourself, they say.

What, me?

Yes, you.

Imagine yourself in your loved one’s shoes. It’s not easy to hear that you are no longer as capable to care for yourself as you once were.

Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E. can be your helping hand when you need a support system during what can be a challenging time—for you and for your loved one.

While some seniors readily accept help, others resist with every fiber of their being. A good place to begin wearing down that resistance is to sit down and talk it out. Ask questions. Finding out why they are resisting help can help you address those emotions and alleviate fears of the unknown.

Perhaps your loved one may feel offended. He may fear that he is becoming useless, and so, less valued. He may resent giving up his driver’s license. He may insist he can still shovel the walk and mow the lawn.

She may feel protective or even stubborn about running her household. This is her domain and why should she let anyone else mess with it?

Reasons for resistance often boil down to some kind of fear. Talking about what precisely it is that your elders fear—loss of independence, loss of home, loss of personal value—can give you the opportunity to assure them that they are valued, that this doesn’t have to be all about loss.

Listening closely to your elders’ concerns, without judgement, can reduce fears and build understanding. Everyone wants to be heard and seen. Sometimes, that is all that is needed. Having these conversations early on is better than waiting for a crisis situation.

Other times, especially when dealing with dementia, resistance persists. Making your elders part of the decision-making of what kind of help they can accept and when that help can be incorporated into their lives can help them feel in control.

Take things one step at a time—accepting help can be a process. Be consistent in your efforts; a breakthrough will eventually come.

Would they prefer this cleaning service or that one? Would they like to be a part of the interview process in choosing a visiting nurse or a lawn care service? Which meal plan would they prefer from this food delivery service?

Giving up a driver’s license can be a major event but introducing your elders to car services such as Uber or Lyft—or the transportation services to medical appointments and to our adult day center offered by Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E.—can help them see how easy and pleasant it can be to be chauffeured around town. Isn’t it nice not to have to hunt for a parking space?

When an elder is experiencing dementia or cognitive decline, embracing life changes can be especially difficult. Despite all your best efforts, pleas and promises, they can still say no, no, no. When all else fails, talk to their physician about best options. Talk to a social worker specializing in senior care. Talk to the experts and build a support system—they are ready to help.

In some cases, you may need to take it to the family court and request guardianship or conservator rights—or both. The court will advise you on what you need, and that often begins with a cognitive test by a physician or qualified nurse practitioner.

To learn more about SENIOR CARE PARTNERS P.A.C.E., visit www.seniorcarepartnersmi.org or talk to a representative at 269.441.9319. We are experts in helping seniors stay in their own homes and remain as autonomous as possible. We can help you help the ones you love—and that can make life less stressful for all of you.

 

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