How to extend love and support to seniors who resist care

Facing trouble dealing with an elderly parent who is resistant care? Follow these guidelines to cope with the initial phase of resistance and help your loved ones properly.

How do you comfort someone who doesn’t want to be reliant on someone?

Resistance to care is one of the most difficult challenges you might face while dealing with your elderly parents and/or grandparents. This resistance might come in a variety of forms. Basically, the form of care someone chooses to accept entirely depends on the individual’s preferences and personality traits.
Sometimes your loved ones may feel as if he or she is giving up their freedom, privacy, or integrity by accepting care and treatment. Sometimes they are also forced to adapt to a new timetable that someone else decides for them, which might become overburdening for some. Such sudden changes usually make the elderly ones feel scared, helpless, awkward, and, as a result, compel them to reject care, valuing their independence.

But, then how can you help them at all?

Here are some other aspects to consider to encourage your loved one to accept the help and care they need:

The grandmother talking with granddaughter in home at Rockville, MD

Understand the reason behind their resistance

Well, as per the Smith Life Homecare experts, who provide senior care in Montgomery County in MD, the best way to start is by being empathetic and asking why they are resisting care in the first place.

Understanding why someone is resistant to care will help you develop strategies for fostering cooperation.

If they require care and support, it’s quite evident that they might be facing trouble dealing with some form of loss; it may be a loss of physical or emotional functionalities, or it may simply be a loss of freedom. And, irrespective of what form of loss it is, any loss gives rise to emotional pain and distress. This, in turn, makes your loved one feel terrified and insecure, particularly when they are forced to abandon their normal lifestyle and privacy and adapt to something new.

Sometimes they might also feel guilty of being a “burden” to you and your family members and tend to resist help. So, the sooner you take an empathetic look at what is bothering the person, the quicker you will be able to identify where their aversion to care comes from.

Initiate the conversation sensitively

If you get an inkling that the person is skeptical about accepting help and care, take time to articulate your thoughts properly and wait for the right moment, i.e., a time when both you and your loved one feel comfortable and content with each other.

Then slowly begin the conversation addressing the essential factors like how they are unnecessarily putting themselves in danger by resisting care.

You can also approach your loved one with an accurate assessment of what sort of assistance or treatment is required for them to lead a healthy life. Try to talk about their daily requirements, and highlight how an extra caring hand is going to be beneficial for them.

If you encounter resistance the first time you address the subject, then, if possible, shelve it for a later date. You must continue to bring it up in between conversations until both of you have a straightforward, comfortable, and relaxed discussion about it.

Nurse and patient holding hands at SmithLife Homecare

Handle their resistance compassionately

If you are met with resistance during the conversation, try to remain calm and fight the temptation to get angry, no matter how stubborn they might seem to be. Because, as soon as they sense even a teeny bit of frustration in your voice, the whole thing is going to be a disaster. Your anger will have an adverse effect on their psyche and make them even more insecure and hesitant towards depending on you for help.

So, to avoid such unfavorable circumstances, remind yourself of the understanding you had built regarding “why” they are resistant in the first place, and then start the discussion with that thought in mind.

Another great way of dealing with resistance is to suggest a trial run of a renowned caregiving service. Try to convince your loved one to give it a try and suggest a professional center like Smith Life Homecare, which provides dedicated senior care in Montgomery County, in MD. Once they try out the service for a fixed period of time, evaluate its effectiveness, and discuss whether or not it works for both of you.

This approach generally works wonders as it gives a sense of agency and control over the decisions being made to your loved ones and increases their chances of compliance.

You can also talk about how getting treatment will allow your loved one to continue their independent stay at home for a longer period of time. Explain how at-home care allows older adults to stay in their own homes, and sometimes entirely eliminates the need to go to any managed care facility in case of medical emergencies.

Ask a reliable professional to talk to them

Professional medical practitioners or reliable family members, whom your aging loved ones admire and respect, can play a significant role in offering them perspective and insight. Ask your family physician or other reliable professionals to come over and talk to them and emphasize how the care will improve their quality of life as well as your peace of mind.

It is often seen that the seniors and caregivers become well-acquainted with each other after a point of time, and the elders start appreciating their company. But, to turn that into reality, you will need to give them time to learn how this new setup will be beneficial for them.

And, who else can explain it to them better than a doctor or professional they trust wholeheartedly? A professional can elevate their skepticism towards accepting care by explaining how a caregiver will speak their language and make their lonely hours relaxing and enjoyable.

The trusted doctor can also recommend a shortlist of skilled caregivers to assure your loved one that they will be in good hands. Once they hear the perspective of a respectable professional, they might start thinking differently, and get over the reservations they had about receiving care in the first place.

Lastly, it will be essential to keep in mind their reluctance to care is not personal. Even if they become angry and frustrated, the rage is not exactly directed towards you. Be patient, try and explore the positives, exercise kindness, and soon you observe that their resistance is slipping away, slowly and gradually.

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