Many adults fail to think about what life will be like when they are caring for an elderly parent. Unfortunately, often times elderly parents may resist bringing in outside care when they reach the point where it’s needed. This can create feelings of emotional hurt and frustration, especially when you have your loved one’s best interests in mind. Learning to understand and deal with resistance to care can help you when this difficult situation occurs.
Resistance to care can feel quite personal, especially if you are in the role of caregiver, even when it’s not. Take a moment to understand everything that your parent is dealing with, and you will see where this resistance comes from.
First, many of the elderly who are in need of care are dealing with losses. It may be loss of physical or mental abilities or it may just be the loss of independence. No matter what type of loss it is, it creates emotional distress. This can make your parent feel frightened and vulnerable, especially if they have to give up their regular lifestyle and privacy.
These changes can also cause many to feel angry. Others may feel guilty about being “a burden” to their children and family members. Some may even simply be stubborn. Once you take a closer look at what your elderly parent is going through, you can see where some of the resistance to care comes from.
If you suspect resistance will be a problem, take the time to approach the conversation about the need for care carefully. Start by choosing the right time – a time when you and your loved one are feeling relaxed and happy. Then, approach your loved one with an honest assessment of what type of help or care is needed.
Remember to ask for your parent’s preferences, and present the care in a way that it will highlight the benefit to them. If you notice resistance the first time you approach the topic, shelve it for a later date, if you can. Continue bringing it up until you can have a clear, relaxed conversation about it.
If you approach the conversation and experience resistance, avoid the temptation to get angry or frustrated. Remember the understanding you have built of why this resistance occurs, and then approach the conversation with that in mind.
One way to deal with resistance is to suggest a trial run of services. If you are advocating for home care from a professional company such as Care At Home Services, starting with a trial run is an excellent option. You can suggest trying the service for a set period of time, then re-evaluate together after the period is over as to whether or not it’s working for you both. This can give your elderly loved one a sense of control over the decisions that are being made.
Consider framing the request in light of how it will help you. If you are caring for a parent, they likely want you to be happy and have your needs met as well. Explain your needs, and you may see resistance from your elderly loved one slowly decrease.
Finally, remind your loved one that receiving care might help them stay independent at home for longer. At-home care allows elderly individuals to stay in their own homes for as long as possible, and for some it may even prevent the need to go to a managed-care facility.
Remember, resistance to care is not personal. Even if your loved one is angry, the anger is not directed at you. Be patient, talk about the benefits, practice compassion and you just might see the resistance fade away.