Accepting Dependence on Care from Others
Growing older is inevitable and as we age, issues with physical, cognitive, or functional needs may begin to appear. It can be very difficult to realize you are struggling with basic needs and day-to-day living. Therefore, it’s understandable that seniors may be hesitant about accepting dependence on care from others. As experts in senior care and living options, we have some advice on this subject. Both for those facing this life-change themselves and also for those talking to seniors who are reluctant to accept assistance.
First, we’ll address some of the common reasons for reluctance when it comes to accepting elder care:
Fear of losing independence and control.
Losing control of their own health, home, finances, etc. can feel frightening for a senior who has been building these their whole life. A recent AARP survey found that 76% of adults 50 and older want to live in their home as long as possible. Independence is important to all adults, including seniors, and the idea of giving up some privacy or independence can feel like a slippery slope. It’s important to acknowledge this when talking to your senior loved one and calm their fears.
Not wanting to be a burden.
Some seniors don’t want to feel like a burden on their loved ones and cite this as a reason against any assistance. Reassure them that they aren’t a burden and accepting care doesn’t take away their dignity or place in the family. Remind the senior that it is a joy for caregivers to be there to help their wellbeing and health.
Lack of trust in potential caregivers.
Another reason for reluctance might be a worry about professional caregivers and helpers. The senior might ask: Why should we trust them? Or they may have concerns about an “outsider” taking advantage of them. To overcome this worry, remind the senior that they are in control of choosing their caregivers. Together, you can interview and check the references for potential caregivers. After the senior has had professional assistance and a good experience, these trust issues should lessen.
Next, we’ll discuss dealing with resistance as a family member or caregiver and how to encourage acceptance and cooperation.
Seeing a parent or loved one struggle with their basic needs is incredibly sad. When they refuse help, the situation may even become frustrating and lead to fighting. Here are some tips for how to talk to a senior who is resistant to care and dependence on others:
Keep your loved one involved in decisions about his or her care.
Keep the senior involved in conversations about their care and be sure to explain the benefits of assistance. This involved approach can help your loved one feel more comfortable about accepting assistance from others.
Have a conservation about the cost.
The senior might bring up concern about the cost of care as a deterrent. Be sure to do your research and reassure them of options, especially if it is covered by Medicaid, to help ease their worries.
Try a trial run of assisted care.
This can reduce the pressure they’re experiencing. Don’t make your senior loved one decide the exact level of care right away, compromise instead. A trial run allows them to experience firsthand the benefits of senior care.
Pick your battles and focus on the big picture.
Always consider the senior’s perspective and how their life is changing. Have compassion and avoid unnecessary arguments about minor issues that may come up.
(Please understand that these strategies might not be appropriate for a senior loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.)
Accepting dependence on care from others can be a challenge but it is necessary for many older adults. Seniors receiving assistance must find a way to accept that they need another person for activities of daily living and that it benefits their quality of life. We hope this article helped provide some guidance for this particular challenge that many seniors and their families face.
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