Not a one of us wants too lose that image that we have of those we love—strong, vibrant, full of life and energetic. But, it happens. Suddenly, those we thought were unstoppable somehow can’t even complete the simplest of tasks. We want to help them, but sometimes they reject help or simply refuse to even ask for or receive it. What can you do if you find yourself in that situation? Here are some tips:
- Start Early
The best-case scenario when it comes to receiving care later in life is one where families have had the conversation of potentially receiving care in the future. Make sure that the conversation is relaxed and not forced. If the opportunity arises, you could ask something like “Where do you see yourself getting older?” or “What would you think of hiring a housekeeper or driver so you could stay at home?” The earlier you can peaceably discuss the situation and the possibilities in brings, the easier it can be to bring them around to the idea when the time finally arrives.
- Be Patient
When discussing the topic, be sure to remember and ask open-ended questions and be patient. Give your loved one time to think and answer on their own. However, it could take a while to get to the root issue, with many stops at off-topic discussions along the way. But don’t give up. If you can find out the cause of why they’ve fired several aides—perhaps because they did not vacuum or dust a specific spot—you may be better able to figure out how to help them best.
- Probe Deeply
Your loved one may have what is, in their mind, a perfectly legitimate reason for refusing to get help when they need it. Again, if you can ask questions and figure out why that is, then you can come up with a proper solution to the issue. However, it’s important to remember that you should try to build trust with them; listen and try to see things from their perspective rather than cutting them down and invalidating their feelings in the process.
- Offer Options
If you’re in the process of preparing interviews for potential help, try to include your parents in the interviewing process or the setting of schedules, if possible. You could let them set the days or the times during those days that they have an aide present. Be sure to highlight the positives of having an aide around: companionship for walks, concerts, museum visits, and lots of other favorite activities.
- Recruit Outsiders Early
It can sometimes be a lot easier for parents to talk with someone from the outside rather than another family member. Don’t be afraid to ask a social worker, a doctor or nurse, a priest or minister, or even an old friend, to bring up the idea to them.
- Prioritize Problems
One thing that might help is to make two lists: one for the problems and one for the steps you’ve already taken, and where you can go to get more help. If you don’t prioritize the issues, caregiving can turn into an even bigger problem than perhaps you’re already facing. By categorizing them, that can help remove some of the stress.
- Use Indirect Approaches
If your loved one suffers from a mental health issue such as dementia, sometimes giving them less information can prove more helpful. You don’t have to go into every minute detail of what the aide can help with before they even have the ability to form a relationship with the caregiver. This might take away some of the anxiety they may be feeling.
- Take it Slow
Incorporate a new aide slowly. You could start with short, simple home visits or meet together for coffee, then take the aide to the doctor later on. Having some pretext to leave earlier and allowing the aide to accompany the loved one home will help to establish the relationship and make them more comfortable.
- Accept Your Limits
Remember that you aren’t Superman or Wonder Woman; you can’t do everything, and sometimes bad things happen that we can’t stop. However, if your loved ones aren’t a danger to themselves or others, let them make their own decisions. It’s important to accept your limits, know what you can and can’t do, and not feel guilty about it.
If you or someone you love needs assistance with Elder Care law issues, call 856-281-3131. Let us help ease your stress and give you a plan.