Is one of your family members in need of in-home care for the elderly?
Many of our beloved seniors would prefer not to receive care for the elderly in their own homes. What can you do to help them accept the loving support you want to give them? Are there methods you can implement that will prevent the situation from escalating? Can it even escalate?
Why Our Seniors Refuse In-Home Care
Believe it or not, the elderly do not refuse help just because of pride. It is a part of it, but there are other causes. Here are some of the most significant issues seniors face when the prospect of in-home care and medical assistance presents itself:
Fear of losing independence
Let’s face it; it is not easy to have another person tell you what to do and what not to do, except maybe at work. When our seniors face medical assistance at home, they get the feeling of losing their independence. A caregiver chaperones them right in their own homes!
No one likes the thought of losing their independence. But sad to say some of our seniors are living this thought as a reality. They may mask that fear with anger, denial, and, ultimately, refusal to accept help.
Fear of strangers
Some seniors do not detest the idea of letting someone care for them, provided that it is someone they know and trust. Trust issues may yet be another reason why the elderly are reluctant to receive in-home care. As much as 43% of seniors feel lonely. And it does not really help to have a complete stranger be their only companion.
Hiring a professional caregiver is a deeply personal choice. Seniors may find it challenging to have a stranger take charge of their medical, physical, and maybe even emotional needs.
Dementia is one of the biggest challenges our elderly face. Around 50 million people in the world have dementia. Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia (approximately 60-70% of dementia cases), afflicts about a third of 85 year old or older seniors, some estimates say.
Imagine yourself in your elderly’s shoes. In your perspective, your independence is being limited. A stranger is taking charge of your health. You don’t want that. And just when you’ve come to terms with it, you have forgotten all about it. Then you have to face all those fears again.
Aside from the forgetfulness, dementia medications may also cause the elderly to have violent outbursts of emotions. These outbursts may be interpreted as reluctance to accept care. But really, they are not.
Dementia makes the process of helping seniors accept in-home healthcare more complicated.
What Can You Do?
What steps can you take to alleviate the fears of your elderly loved ones?
Communication is Key
Communication is a powerful tool when making a decision that will affect more than just yourself. Upon finding out what makes your senior reluctant to accept professional help, explain the facts to them thoroughly that it is for their best interest.
Don’t let them feel alone or abandoned. Make sure that our elderly know that you are still the primary caregiver. But explain that you need help from a professional.
The other side of this coin is listening to the concerns of the elderly. Instead of quieting down their objections, try to make them feel heard by actually hearing them out. Seniors, and anyone really, are more likely to cooperate when they feel that their concerns are paid attention to.
“Good words are worth much, and cost little.”
The more time you spend with someone in close, open, and personal communication, the more likely they are to cooperate with you. The same is true with our seniors.
Involve Them in the Decision
As much as possible, involve your seniors in the decision-making process. The decision heavily impacts their life, after all. Again, communication is tremendously important. Ensure open communication between you, the potential or hired caregiver, and the senior
Involving your seniors in the decision-making process is vital to make them feel less helpless, more in control, and a little bit more independent. Ensuring that the senior is part of the decision-making process also helps them familiarize themselves with their future caregiver.
Start Early and Slow
No one can prevent aging. If your parents are nearing those ripe ages where in-home medical assistance is a good option, you can start talking to them about it. Make sure that they get used to the idea.
When you get to the point where professional help is already in place, you still strive to take it slow. Have the caregiver only come a few hours each week. Then slowly transition towards more hours, letting the caregiver handle more personal tasks.
Focus on Their Needs
Dealing with people can be challenging; it does not matter whether they are young or old or somewhere in between. It can get messy sometimes, to the point that you lose focus and fixate on how frustrated you are with that person.
When this happens, the situation may escalate. When you get introspective and focus just on your anger, emotions may burst, and you’ll begin to fight fire with your seniors. Sure, it may be quite reasonable to feel frustration. In the first place, you are making all that effort for the well-being of the elderly, yet they seem to have no appreciation for it.
However, if you keep an open mind and focus on their needs, you and they can be more comfortable. Focus on their fears and address those. For example, if the elderly anxiety is being taken care of by a stranger, how about making sure that they first get to know the caregiver.
There’s Only So Much You Can Do
When dealing with a sensitive situation, we all have to remember that we can’t force anyone into anything, even our seniors. Even if what we want is what we genuinely think is the best for them, the final decision is theirs. If seniors feel that an in-home care and healthcare assistance regime is not the best option, they may feel more like they have no free will.
“And one who is just of his own free will shall not lack for happiness…”
The best you can do is to communicate your concerns about them, hear their problems, and work to agree.