The changes that come with getting older can be difficult to accept. For many seniors, admitting they may need assistance to stay healthy can be hard. For caregivers, watching a loved one struggle can be tough too.
Thankfully, there are ways to make the process easier. Experts say implementing these strategies can help ease the pain that often comes with the transition from giving care to receiving it.
Even when it’s frustrating for caregivers who only want to help, it’s important to try to understand the senior’s point of view. Why are they refusing to accept assistance?
There are many reasons your elderly loved one may feel so reluctant to allow anyone to help them with daily tasks.
According to experts, it’s important to help seniors feel they’re still viewed as competent adults. Providing reassurance that accepting care assistance won’t diminish the love and respect you hold for them can make it easier for them to listen.
According to poll data, 72% of seniors 65 and older say they feel younger than their actual age.
When children assume the role of caregiver, it can be difficult for elderly parents to accept this new dynamic.
Seniors may have feelings of guilt or failure to fulfill their responsibilities if they’ve spent a lifetime of caring for others. These feelings can sometimes be expressed through obsintance and refusal to accept help.
Showing compassion and love can help them understand how much you appreciate everything they’ve done throughout the years and allow them to accept that it’s their time to rest and let others care for them.
Ultimately, a deep understanding of their fears and concerns around accepting care assistance can help you find the right approach to reach them.
Give Them A Voice
Feelings of losing control and not having a voice can be scary for anyone.
Many seniors fear that accepting help means their identity and independence are in jeopardy.
According to poll data, about 62% of seniors living in the US say they prefer to remain at home rather than move to assisted living due to a desire to maintain their independence.
One way to ease these fears is to ensure that your loved one’s care plan is developed through mutual discussion.
Asking what aspects of independence are most important to them can help you better understand how to build a care plan that accommodates their needs and desires as well as their physical health and well-being.
Experts say attempts to force help on a senior who is unwilling to accept it, or blatant disregard for their wishes may cause them to fight back by asserting their independence.
This could involve excluding caretakers from doctor’s appointments, attempting to prove they don’t need help by trying to complete dangerous tasks on their own, or starting frequent arguments about their capabilities.
Ignoring their wishes could also lead to a breakdown in communication. The loved one may hide activities they believe their caretakers don’t want them to attempt on their own, like driving.
The best way to avoid pushback is by listening and communicating with respect, experts say. It’s best to choose your words carefully around sensitive issues and speak in a way in which they wish to be spoken. Always avoid speaking to a senior in a childish tone or giving demands without asking for their consent.
Although it may take time, allowing your loved one to maintain their sense of identity and independence is key to helping them get on board with a care plan that makes sense to keep them safe and healthy.
Speak To A Counselor
Sometimes, the flurry of emotions and difficulty of coming to an understanding with your loved one can benefit from a third-party perspective.
A professional counselor can help you and your loved one navigate the difficult feelings that come with big changes while maintaining a healthy relationship.
Counselors can offer expert solutions on ways to accommodate the wishes of your loved one without compromising on care assistance needs. They can also help hesitant seniors practice accepting care from others.
Eventually, your loved one may feel resentment around being placed in long-term care, or receiving the help they don’t believe they need. In many cases, a counselor may be able to help repair the damage done to relationships during a very difficult transition.
Professional advice on addressing feelings and someone to offer validation of everyone’s emotions can be the key to helping a senior accept the care they need.
At Reflections, we offer tools that can help with a difficult transition.
From geriatric assessments to help you understand what kind of care is needed, to counseling services, and guidance on choosing care facilities, our experts are ready to help.
We offer multiple levels and types of senior care that can help prioritize the aspects of independence that mean the most to your loved one and put your worries to rest.
When you’re ready to get started, contact us through our website.