The population of senior citizens residing in the state of California is on track to rise by as much as 200% in some counties from 1990 to 2020. That startling growth is in line with what the United States is seeing as a whole.
With an aging population comes a lot of questions, especially for these elderly person’s loved ones.
“How will I take care of my mom/dad when they get older?” “Which options will they be receptive to?”
For many, the best answer to the above questions is home care. Still, even home care which provides one-on-one, dignified in-home help may be refused by seniors.
If your elderly parent refuses help they so desperately need, below are some strategies that may assist you in managing the situation going forward.
- Start as Soon as Possible
In the heat of a medical crisis, it can be difficult to drastically change your elderly loved one’s lifestyle by implementing an in-home care solution. This is especially true if the conversation has never taken place before.
To help ease your loved one’s transition from independence to supported independence, have the discussion of in-home care well before care is needed. This will reduce the odds of having a situation where an elderly parent refuses help.
- Understand Concerns and Speak to the Advantages of Having a Caregiver
When an elderly parent refuses help, they’ll typically have reasons for doing so. Many of these reasons stem from fears.
The best thing you can do to help amend the situation is to listen to what those fears are. Once you understand where your parent is coming from, dispel those fears with well-researched information and assuring them of your care and concern for their well-being. This should help substantially with putting your parent at ease.
You might gently bring up some of the advantages of having an in-home caregiver: i) not having to wait for an Access or Secure van because the caregiver would be able to transport the parent to doctor appointments door-to-door and on time; ii) not being alone because the caregiver would be someone personally compatible who would be an amiable companion; iii) not having to resort to unhealthy eating habits because the caregiver would prepare nutritious and tasty meals; iv) not being alone if an unexpected fall happens because the caregiver would be present to immediately help; and v) not having to worry about general safety and overall wellbeing because the caregiver’s number one priority is the wellbeing of the parent.
- Patience Pays
Another reason why it’s great to start the conversation of in-home help early is because you don’t need an answer right away. You can plant the seed by presenting the option of in-home help to your elderly loved one and give them time to think about and be comfortable with the idea.
Then, periodically over the next few months, continue to gauge your parent’s disposition. You’ll find that after your loved one has had time to sit with the idea, they’ll be open to learning more.
- Make Your Parent Part of the Process
It’s important that your parent’s in-home help is a good fit for them. To that end, include your parent in conversations about which home care agency to go with and what staff members they’d feel comfortable having in their home.
This inclusion can ease a lot of the stress surrounding this life transition.
- Ask For Others to Support the Conversation
Talking to your parent about getting home help can be difficult. They spent their lives making decisions for you and now you’re reversing roles on them which can lead to discomfort.
To keep this conversation from becoming overly emotionally, talk to your parent’s priest, doctor, nurse, friends, and others. Determine if any one or more of them might be the person(s) with whom your parent would be comfortable talking about in-home help and care, and help compassionately impress that having a caregiver in the home a few hours a week could help avert a hospital stay due to a fall.
- Ease Your Parent into the Transition and Offer a Trial Process
When bringing on an in-home aide, you can help circumvent experiencing the issue of an elderly parent who refuses help by taking things in baby steps.
For example, you can have the caregiver accompany both you and your parent to doctor’s appointments. You can also have your parent’s caregiver help around the house while you’re around. Perhaps the caregiver could eventually also take on housekeeping a couple days a week, with laundry chores added in later, followed by meal planning and preparation. Eventually, with the addition of new responsibilities over time, the caregiver is assisting with transfers from bed to walker, recliner to walker, and so on.
Gradually remove yourself from the situation once your parent has grown accustomed to the new situation.
- Pick Your Battles
If your elderly parent refuses help, ask yourself how badly they really need it at this moment and decide whether or not to push the issue. Oftentimes, creating a combative situation prematurely can close avenues to your parent getting in-home help down the road.
To leave the door open, don’t get baited into fights during early conversations about home help. Always handle your parent’s concerns respectfully and wait for your parent to be more receptive before pressing further.
- Consider Getting Support For Yourself
Dealing with an aging parent can be a stressful situation. That stress can translate into desperation which can contribute to their fear.
To make sure that you’re able to deal with your parent’s well being as tactfully and objectively as possible, consider getting help for yourself. Being able to discuss your fears and anxiety surrounding the situation of your parent with another loved one, counselor, or therapist can be helpful in giving yourself the perceptive you need to be your best self in making good decisions.
- Don’t Beat Yourself Up
At the end of the day, your parents are adults. Unless they have mental impairments which harm their ability to make decisions, you need to respect their wishes.
It’s your obligation as a son or daughter to do everything in your power to give your parents the help they need. If despite your best efforts your elderly parent refuses help, it’s important to realize it’s not your fault and that there’s only so much you can do.
Continue having the conversation with them periodically and never force them into a position that they’re deeply uncomfortable with. You’ll find that your being positive with yourself and your parent with regard to home care may open up doors in the future.
Wrapping Up Strategies When an Elderly Parent Refuses Help
As your parents get older, you’ll be faced with the question of how to give them the highest quality of life in their remaining years.
For many, the best and most dignified answer to that question is professional in-home care. Still, many seniors may not be receptive to this type of assistance.
Help move your parent toward accepting in-home assistance by using the strategies outlined above.
Also, be sure to pick a high-quality in-home assistance agency that can guide you in framing your conversations. To that end, let our team at Assistance In Home Care help.
We specialize in providing compassionate in-home care to residents of the Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, Long Beach, Torrance, and Redondo Beach areas.