Most elderly want to stay in their homes for as long as possible. What do you do when that elderly loved one wants to stay in their home but can no longer stay by themselves but thinks they are fine alone? My company provides in-home care.
The people that call for help, however, are not usually the ones in need of assistance. It is usually another family member that calls. There are lots of reasons for this. Often the people that need help believe they are fine. Also, the idea of someone coming into their home can be frightening. Not to mention that hiring someone to help them goes against everything they have been taught and believe about family. Our society has changed dramatically in just a couple of generations. It wasn’t that long ago that there was an adult usually available in the home to help care for family members when needed. The traditional two adult, single income, family was the norm. Fast forward to today’s society. We often see single income, single adult homes as well as dual income households.
In either example, during the day there is usually no responsible adult available to help that elderly person who might need assistance. I believe family members in need of help “push back” against the assistance offered because they either feel they don’t need the help or they resent the fact that family is not able to meet all their needs. When our elderly family members grew up and a relative needed help the family usually provided as much assistance as was needed so why can’t their kids? The most success I have had in overcoming this objection has been convincing the person in need of care that even if they don’t feel that they need help, it is more for the peace of mind of their loved ones because those loved ones are worried sick. How difficult is it to focus on one’s job when in the back of one’s mind is concern for someone at home who should not be alone? It is much more than a daily distraction. Sometimes it comes down to the lesser of two evils. Would your elderly loved one rather have someone come into their home to help or would they rather have to go live somewhere else because they refused to accept assistance? I think a good strategy when there is resistance is to start out slow.
Most of us did not grow up with unrelated people in our homes hired to provide care so suddenly having someone there takes some getting used to. Starting out slowly with not a lot of hours or days helps those loved ones ease into having help. Also, it gives them time to make sure that the person coming is a good fit. Do not hesitate to make a change if the caregiver’s personality is not a good match. In an ideal situation, the caregiver should be someone your family looks forward to seeing not someone that family members dread having in their home. Every caregiver’s personality is unique and even if an excellent caregiver you deserve someone that works well with your family. So don’t forget that just as important as getting someone to accept care is making sure the care provided is quality care and that the caregiver is a good fit. Those things together will help ensure a smooth transition to that season of life where someone you love can no longer live independently.