6 Steps to Overcome Refusal of Care
As your loved one’s age, it is natural to begin considering the idea of getting them some extra help. However, aging parents often don’t see a need for home care support and often refuse care, making the topic difficult for both parties.
You know that you have their best interests at heart, and maybe you’ve seen some things that concern you, or a recent health scare has brought the issue to light. But the thought of losing their independence, leaving their home and community, or being “babysat” by strangers can be overwhelming.
As someone who cares about them, it can feel frustrating when they aren’t even willing to consider an option that could help them a great deal. These obstacles can make it easy to put the subject off for another day or even indefinitely.
However, this only makes the conversation more difficult in the long run. By putting off the decision to start or even consider home care, you lose out on many options that make the process easier for everyone involved.
To help you start the conversation about whether home care is right for your family, even if you’ve tried and failed in the past, we’ve pulled together a few simple tips to help navigate the conversation:
Step 1 – Discuss senior care options before an emergency happens
Because of the uncomfortable nature of the topic, it’s common to wait for an emergency to force the conversation about senior care. There’s a better way! By bringing it up early, no matter how difficult the conversation is, you open up a whole world of options.
You’ll have time to research and choose the type of senior care or home care that best fits. The process can begin slowly, with care taken to build a relationship with the caregiver. Your loved one will have time to get used to the idea of having help, and may even embrace it and start asking for help in other areas.
In addition, if an emergency occurs, there will be a lot less fear and confusion for your parent and yourself. The current care plan can naturally transition as needed, and they will already have a relationship with the caregiver.
Step 2 – Do your research and get familiar with the available levels of home or senior care
It’s a common misconception that home care options are limited to an in-home nurse or an assisted care facility. In reality, there are many options available that you can customize to meet their individual needs.
Educate yourself on topics like private in-home care, geriatric care managers, task-oriented vs. person-centered care, and assisted living. By doing the research beforehand, you can present your loved one with several options and ease any visions of a lonely care facility away from the comforts of home.
Step 3 – Schedule the conversation ahead of time
Put it on the calendar in advance to give everyone a chance to prepare for the conversation. Choose a quiet setting where you won’t be interrupted or distracted. Make sure you’ve planned enough time to allow everyone to be heard without feeling rushed. Don’t be afraid to take breaks, especially if tensions get high.
Step 4 – Take time to listen and understand
There are numerous reasons that people resist care. It may be that they have experienced guilt from decisions they made about their own parents’ care. They may be concerned about being a burden on you or about being pushed into a decision that makes them uncomfortable.
Stop and listen before sharing your ideas and the things you’ve learned in your research. Ask questions, let them talk as much as they need to, and take the time to truly understand their fears and concerns, as well as their needs, wants, and desires.
Step 5 – Share your thoughts without pushing a solution
Now that you’ve done your research, listened to their concerns, and taken time to understand their experience, it’s your turn. Since you can see their life from a different point of view, you likely have some valuable insights. You may see warning signs that they have missed or know of solutions to problems they have mentioned.
It’s easy to look at the situation and feel like you have the perfect plan for them, but it’s important to remember that no one wants to be told how to live. Instead, take off the pressure and just share your observations. Saying, “I’ve noticed ____ lately, and it’s concerning me. Have you noticed it as well?” will be much more effective at starting a conversation than telling them, “You need to _____.”
Step 6 – Be an ally and an advocate for the senior
No matter what level or type of care they choose, be on their side. The goal is a joyful and meaningful life, and the right option is the one that offers that. Good care results in an improved quality of life, increased health and safety, and lots of time to enjoy the activities and people they love. By letting them know that you are on their side, you can keep the lines of communication open.
At Home Care Assistance, we are on a mission to help aging adults maintain their independence and stay in their homes as long as possible. We use a person-centered care model that focuses on the whole mind and body. Our caregivers get to know your loved one and engage with them as a friend, not just a caregiver. Starting home care doesn’t have to be a stressful process, and together, we can find a solution that brings peace of mind to you and them.
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