You start noticing changes in your elderly loved one’s behavior. They’re struggling with activities of daily living or there has been a decline in their hygiene. These are common signs that indicate your loved one needs additional care. Other signs include rapid weight loss, a cluttered or disorganized house, forgetfulness, loss of interest in activities they enjoy, or frequent injuries or bruises. When you notice that your loved one is struggling to take care of their health and home, it’s important to know which options of care are available. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, it’s time to start having the difficult conversations with your loved one.
We call these difficult conversations for a reason. Aging loved ones usually feel hesitant about the idea of having a caregiver come into their home. Reasons as to why your loved one feels concerned or hesitant are often caused by a communication gap or misunderstanding. The fear of losing independence, feeling incompetent, or needing to change their daily lives is scary for most people, especially the elderly. Excluding your loved one in the conversations you and the rest of the family are having regarding their care, increases the communication gap, and increases the chance of misunderstandings. Another cause of resistance is caused by emotional distress that they experience. A rapid decline in health and the ability to do daily tasks can cause anger and frustration.
It is important to acknowledge and understand your loved one’s fears and frustrations to have more meaningful and easier conversations. Carefully listen to their concerns and how they feel about the idea so they know their voice is heard. Here are some important tips on how to approach your aging loved one when they resist care.
- Start Conversations Early
It is important to start having conversations with your loved one as soon as you start to see signs of decline in their health and conditions, especially if they have already ended up in the hospital. Remember to approach the topic from a place of love and compassion. Keep a calm tone and neutral expressions while talking, to help your loved one feel safe and confident. In the case of increasing cognitive impairment, the longer you wait to have the conversation, the more difficult it will be to explain and convince them that they need help!
- Listen And Acknowledge Their Emotions And Feelings
To have the best outcome, acknowledge your loved one’s emotions and concerns. Showing empathy for the situation will make a big difference in how they react. Once you can understand why your loved one is resistant, you can develop an action plan which is more in alignment with what your loved one will be comfortable with.
- Share Your Concerns With Them
Again, when talking about your specific concerns, always remember to address things calmly and lovingly. You could mention specific instances or differences you’ve been noticing in their behavior. By pointing out certain situations, your loved one will more likely be open to listening and learning about care options. If your loved one happens to become defensive, avoid a potential argument. Instead, acknowledge that you understand how difficult this is for them. Be sure to include facts about the consequences of not getting help.
- Establish Common Goals
Establishing common goals is the most important step in having these conversations. Ask your loved one that their goals are. Would they like to remain at home? Would they be comfortable with a caregiver in the home? By realizing what their goals are and aligning those goals with you and your family’s goals. You can adjust and organize the level of care.
- Include A Professional
Set up a call with a professional to answer any questions you and your loved one may have. It is important to include your loved one in the conversation to make sure that their fears/concerns are being heard. The feeling of inclusivity will help empower them to feel like they have some control in the decision making process. A professional will also be able to explain the current situation to your loved one perhaps in a more clear, concise, and unbiased perspective.
- Avoid Putting Too Much Pressure
Once again, it is important to introduce the conversion early. As the situation worsens the more pressure you and your loved one will feel. If your loved one continues to refuse any type of care, bring someone else, someone who they trust like a close friend or a sibling, into the conversations.
- Keep Notes Of Conversations
Your loved one might not be able to recall certain conversations or details about the conversations previously discussed. Keeping notes of conversations will help your loved one more easily recall and understand the situation at hand.
We hope that these tips help you get the care your loved one deserves. If you have any questions regarding our caregivers or services, sign up for our complimentary consultation and we will happily help you with getting services in place.