Watching your parents get older is difficult as the people who once did everything to take care of you slowly lose their ability to take care of themselves. If this is frustrating for you to watch, imagine how difficult it is for your parents who are experiencing it. No one likes accepting the inevitability of the aging process and some even go as far as to refuse to accept care that could improve the quality of their lives. As a family caregiver, it can be frustrating and disheartening to have an elderly parent refuse care. However, you cannot react to your relatives with anger. You must understand the feelings of fear and anxiety about aging that cause seniors to act out this way as they lose their physical or cognitive function.
Senior citizens tend to refuse care out of stubbornness or fear of accepting their age-related decline. Seniors who have chronic conditions are generally aware of how their conditions can affect them but may have difficulty accepting it. In the minds of some seniors, accepting care may mean accepting defeat as this would force them to confront and admit their physical or mental limitations. If your senior parents are not accepting care, it is important to not get angry and understand why accepting care, either in-home care or care at an assisted living facility, can be very difficult for them to do. With some understanding and the right strategy, you can still help your relatives get the senior care they need if they have been refusing care.
The following tips will help you ease your parents into accepting senior care that can drastically improve their lives.
Start the Discussion Early
It helps to broach the subject of elderly care with your parents before they truly need it. Do not be afraid to discuss their future with them and even ask them direct questions about how they imagine their situation when they get older. You should ask questions such as, “Where do you see yourself living after you retire?” or “Would you be open to having a caregiver so you can continue to live at home?” This subject is easier to talk about when the need for care is in the future and it can give you some insight into your parents’ preferred care options for when the time comes.
Always Show Patience
When having these discussions with your parents, try to keep the questions open ended so they do not feel like they are being interrogated. You must also be patient as they respond to your questions. You may have to ask the same question on several different occasions before you get a helpful answer.
Get to the Root of the Problem
When discussing senior care with your parents, gently probe them to find out why exactly they are refusing care. If they reveal why they don’t want to accept care, then you can come up with a solution that curbs their specific fears or concerns. Their reason for refusal could be related to cost, loss of control of their own lives, or not wanting to allow a stranger in the house to provide care. Showing an understanding of their concerns and a willingness to work around them will help you build trust with your parents.
Discuss Several Care Options
Once you understand the fears or concerns behind your parents’ refusal of care, come up with several care options that accommodate their concerns. If they do not like the idea of going to a nursing home or assisted living facility, discuss several different options for in-home care. Once they agree to receive care, involve them in the planning so they can choose which days to receive care, and where to receive it.
Get a Second Opinion
If you feel like your parents are not taking you seriously when discussing care, you can seek a second opinion. Talk to someone your parents trust such as their doctor, nurse, or priest about the situation and your parents’ refusal to get help. Hearing that they need help from another trusted voice can help your parents rethink their stance.
Get Problems in Order
It helps to keep a list of your parents’ problems and concerns, as well as a list of the actions you have taken to get them the care they need. Prioritize the concerns of your parents to ensure that each one is properly addressed. This process will be much less stressful if you keep these things in order.
Take an Indirect Approach
Addressing the problem indirectly can be an effective approach if you have a parent that suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s. In these situations, you can tell your parent that the caregiver is there to help with various tasks such as cooking meals and to accompany them on walks. It is not necessary to tell your parent every detail of the caregiver’s duties. This can help make accepting help from a caregiver less of a big deal to them.
Once you have contacted a home care agency about providing in-home care for your parents, integrate the caregiver slowly into the fold. Have the caregiver come by your parents’ home for short visits or meet them in public at first. You can then have the caregiver come for longer visits and even accompany your parents to a doctor appointment to get them used to having a home care aide. This will help your parents become more comfortable with accepting a caregiver in their home.
Know your Limit
You must understand your limits when it comes to making choices for your senior parents. You cannot make all the choices for them and unless they are putting themselves in danger, you should let them make their own choices. Sometimes a senior must realize on their own that the do indeed need some extra help around the home.
Helping your Parents with Home Health Care
If your parents initially refuse care, stick to the strategies outlined above to understand your parents’ concerns and help them realize their need for care. Taking the right approach can help you get your parents the care that they need to improve their overall quality of life. In many cases, in-home care may be the best option to get your parents to accept care because it allows them to stay in the familiar environment of their own home. Home caregivers can assist senior citizens with personal activities, medications, meal preparation, and much more, giving you peace of mind about your parents’ safety.
Assisting Hands Home Care is one of the most trusted elderly care providers to help seniors comfortably and safely age in place. Give us a call at (847) 796-6685 for a free consultation.