Watching an aging parent suffer from physical and mental decline is one of the most difficult things a child will experience. Perhaps your father is having difficulty recovering after a recent fall. Or, maybe your mother’s appearance has become unkempt, and her refrigerator is filled with expired food. Watching these changes can be disheartening. Don’t feel alone if you’ve attempted to find appropriate care for your loved one and have met resistance from them. Often an aging parent refuses care and has an emotional reaction when their children broach the topic of home care. To them, it often means they’re one step away from being moved into a nursing home.
Many children have found that engaging their parents in productive conversations about receiving support is easier when they ask their parents questions about their reluctance to accept care instead of telling them why they should get help.
Here are four questions to ask your parent to help you better understand their reluctance and lead them to be more receptive to home care:
Are you worried about losing your independence?
The loss of independence is often at the core of a senior’s refusal to accept care. Most adults begin their quest for independence in their teens, and they’re never ready to give it up. Many seniors see giving up their autonomy as giving up on life.
Assess what your parent still can do effectively and safely. Can they still cook breakfast or bake? Are they able to bathe and dress? Remind Mom or Dad of the things they can do – and that they’ll be able to continue doing them. Reiterate to them that receiving caregiving help in some areas doesn’t mean that they’re totally giving up their independence.
Are you concerned about your privacy?
Older adults tend to be more modest than younger generations. It can be unsettling and threatening to them when they’re faced with someone helping them with personal care, like bathing, dressing, or toileting.
Commit to your parent that you’ll start slowly by hiring a caregiver for just a few hours a week on a trial basis. This will allow your loved one to develop trust with their caregiver and reduce anxiety about an intrusion of privacy.
Under what circumstances can you see yourself getting caregiving help?
Phrasing this question as an event that could happen in the future can help lower the defenses of a senior. Instead of being confronted with a “now or never” stance by family members, they can give thought to what would have to happen “someday” for them to agree to receive care. Follow-up questions like, “How would you like to handle home care if something happens to your health, like a debilitating stroke or a broken hip from a fall?” can further open their mind to receiving help.
What advice would you give a friend in these circumstances?
Sometimes, due to dementia or natural aging, older adults don’t recognize the need for caregiving help. But, they can sometimes see clearer when other people need assistance.
Use the “asking for a friend” approach and create a scenario similar to your parent’s. This can provide insight into their willingness to accept help and might provide a breakthrough by showing them that certain conditions, for the safety and well-being of a senior, merit using caregiving services.
Patiently asking these questions may help you identify why your parent is refusing care and allow you to gently persuade them to reconsider. The goal is to work together and keep their best interests top of mind.
AmeriCare Plus can help your loved one living in Virginia comfortably adapt to receiving home care. We’d be happy to schedule a free in-home consultation with you and your parent to discuss their needs and let them know how we can help.
Schedule your free consultation today by calling (844) 312-5913. We’re here to help your loved one age in place with dignity and respect.
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