Caring For The Elderly, Dealing With Resistance

By John Bauslaugh on April 04, 2014

Caring For The Elderly, Dealing With Resistance

One of the toughest challenges you can face when dealing with the elderly is resistance to care. How do you help a loved one who doesn't want help?


What causes resistance to care?

If your loved one needs care, he or she is likely dealing with loss — physical

loss, mental loss, or the loss of independence. Accepting care may mean relinquishing privacy and adjusting to new routines. As a result, your loved one may feel frightened and vulnerable, angry that he or she needs help or guilty about the idea of becoming a burden to family and friends. In addition, he or she may be stubborn, have mental health concerns or simply think it's a sign of weakness to accept care. He or she might also worry about any associated costs.

What's the best way to approach a loved one about needing care?

If you suspect that your loved one will be resistant to care whether from family, other close contacts or a caregiver you may hesitate to bring up the topic. To start the communication process:

Choose a time when you and your loved one are relaxed.

This will make it easier for you to listen to each other and to speak your minds.

Ask questions about your loved one's preferences.

What type of assistance does he or she want or need? Is it important to your loved one which family member or what type of service provides care? While you may not be able to fulfill all of your loved one's wishes, it's important to take them into consideration.

Enlist the help of family members.

Family and friends may be able to persuade your loved one to accept assistance. Don't assume that your loved one is unable to discuss his or her care preferences. While your loved one may be ill, he or she may still be able to express and decide on his or her wishes. If your loved one has trouble understanding you, be sure to simplify your explanations and the decisions you expect him or her to make.

Don't give up.

If your loved one doesn't want to discuss the topic the first time you approach it, try again later.

Effective strategies for managing resistance to care

Suggest a trial run.

Enlist the help of a professional.

Discuss your needs.

Explain how care may prolong independence.

Pick your battles.

Help your loved one cope with the loss of independence.

Source: Mayo Clinic

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By John Bauslaugh| April 04, 2014
Categories:  Care Giving

About the Author

John Bauslaugh

John Bauslaugh


John has been reporting on home health care and independent living for over ten years. In addition to extensive research, John writes on important issues from personal experience.

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