How to help when it’s not wanted
There often comes a point in life when someone you love and have been caring for needs additional help that you just can’t give. Sometimes the transition from being cared for solely by a family member to having a paid, professional caregiver is seamless and simple for all involved. But if you’ve reached a time when you need outside resources to help care for an elderly parent or spouse and you’re being met with fierce resistance, it can be an emotional whirlwind for everyone involved.
Resistance is understandable. It can be hard to open up your life and home to a stranger, and difficult to accept that you are losing a little bit more of your independence. We are more comfortable with the people we know and love, and can sometimes accept help from them easier than we can from someone we don’t know.
That’s why we have compiled some suggestions and advice for dealing with this delicate and emotionally fraught situation.
- If possible, talk about your loved one’s needs before the situation is critical. Introducing the idea of outside care when you’re both relaxed and the need for additional help isn’t imminent will give your loved one time to prepare for the inevitable.
- Make sure they are part of the decision-making process. Yes, you have been doing the care giving and know what additional resources are needed, but ask your loved one questions about their preferences. Involving them will give them a feeling of empowerment and may make the transition a little easier.
- Whenever possible, let your loved one make as many decisions as possible. If there are options—choosing a male versus a female aid, for example—let them decide what feels right.
- Enlist the help of family and friends who may be able to gently persuade your loved one to accept more help. If they see that it’s not just you who thinks additional care is needed, they may be more apt to consider it.
- Reassure your loved one that you will still be there. Make sure they understand that a professional caregiver isn’t going to completely replace you, just provide a little extra help when needed.
- Start slowly. Suggest having someone come in once a week for a month as a trial run. If your loved one knows there is a chance to reevaluate the situation and make changes as needed, they may feel more comfortable giving it a try.
- Remind your loved one that accepting outside help may prolong their independence and allow them to stay in their own home longer.
- Really listen to their concerns. Be patient and remember that this is a huge life change that isn’t always easy to accept.
It may take some time to convince your loved one to agree to additional help, but deep down they probably do understand that you love them and only want what’s best for them. Remember that change is hard to accept, especially under these circumstances, so tread gently and don’t give up.
For more ways to handle resistance to outside care giving, visit the MayoClinic. For tips and advice on talking to an aging parent about concerns you have regarding their care, visit Boca Home Care Services.
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