Dec 29, 2017 by Stephanie Howe - Owner, Comfort Keepers
My Story: When I Realized My Elderly Uncle Needed Alzheimer's Care
My uncle is 75 and suffers from early stages of Alzheimer’s. My cousin, his daughter, who takes care of him came to me the other day complaining she was at her wit's end trying to convince him and her mother to seek in-home care. My cousin has a part-time job and two small kids. You can imagine her stress levels with so much to take care of.
She asked me to intervene and try to make uncle and aunt understand. But, before I did that I wanted to find out what is it that makes seniors so resistant?
Fear is the primary factor which makes the elderly resent and refuse outside care. Fear that their family no longer loves them, fear that they would lose their independence if there is an outside caregiver, and fear that they are old and not as strong as they used to be. This makes the seniors irritable and reluctant to accept help. This fear makes seniors rude and resentful to their caregivers.
But, the reality is you need to convince them and ensure that things will be much better if they have a home care professional taking care of them. So how do we convince them?
Here are few things you can try.
Starting Early: You should start having a conversation about caregiving before your elderly relative has a serious health issue. You could start a conversation with a question like “ Where do you see yourself when you grow older?”. This will give them some time to think of issue they might face when they are older.
Accepting the situation: If your elderly relative has suffered a stroke and is unable to walk without support, then it is very important that you make them accept the situation. Encouraging words like “if we have one more hand to help then maybe you can start walking on your own quicker”. This will help them accept at the caregiver and treat them as someone who is trying to make their situation better.
Probing deeply: Sometimes seniors have some genuine fears about external caregiving, after all, it's not easy to grow old. Find out what is bothering them and why they refuse to seek the help of a professional caregiver. Find out if they feel that they could lose their independence or privacy. It is easier to handle the situation better when you know what it is that is bothering your loved one.
Trying to overcome the resistance: No one knows your loved one better than you. Hence it's important that you make them feel at ease with new arrangements. Telling them that you would still be around when they need you will make them feel secure. Letting them know how the professional caregiver is experienced and can take good care will also make them less resistant, and that you will be there to oversee things during the initial days and will always be a phone call away will help.
Don’t overwork yourself: Linda simply could not convince her parents to move in closer to her after their retirement. They said they had dreamed of the mountains and took a house in the mountains. After the first few years, her dad had a fall and broke his hip. Her mother insisted that they were fine and refused any help that Linda offered.
A few months later her mother too was diagnosed with kidney disease that required regular dialysis. Still, they refused help. Linda could do nothing but just jump in whenever the situation got serious. Don’t work yourself out when your parents refuse help even after a lot of discussions. Just do what is right for them in that situation even if they hate you for it.
Giving options: Treating seniors like adults and not like obstinate children is the key. After all, they were the ones who decided for you when you were a kid. If you can come up with a list of options like choosing the caregiver, interviewing them, having the option to change the caregiver when they are not comfortable will make them more open to accepting the help of an in-home caregiver.
Dementia: It is very important that if your loved one has dementia, you seek the help of an assisted living company. Dementia patients are most of the times not aware of how grave their situation is. You must assure them that you are there anytime they need you, but they have to seek external help to make them feel better.
Call us at 732-228-4200 or fill out an online contact form for the in-home care options available and choose one that’s right for your loved ones.