You’re seeing signs in your elderly loved one such as a decline in personal hygiene, maybe weight loss indicating poor eating habits or housekeeping chores that are not being done, and you’re worried. You explain that you are starting to notice these things and out of love and concern for them, you want them to consider getting some outside help.
“I don’t need any help!” Sound familiar? It’s not uncommon for seniors to refuse assistance. Fear of losing independence is a real concern for them along with having to face the reality that they now need help with activities that they used to perform readily.
It is best to engage your loved one early on in relaxed conversations about aging and discuss their potential future needs before issues occur. If you can get them to understand that the eventual need for elder care assistance is a normal process, then it will be that much easier when the time comes to begin making the necessary arrangements.
With the constant barrage of youth-oriented advertising on television and in the media, it’s no wonder that seniors feel that they need to continue to prove to their family and friends that they are still capable and competent adults. American society tends to view advancing age negatively. When faced with families forcing them to get a caregiver, many seniors can act out in ways that put them in danger because of their need to prove they’ve still “got it.”
If your elders continue to refuse help after trying different strategies to convince them, consider getting some professional assistance. A respected doctor, nurse or clergyman can be very helpful in these discussions. If your loved one has any friends who have a caregiver, consult them to see if they would be willing to relate how much easier their life is now.
Because this can be such a sensitive topic, be patient and understanding. Even though your loved one may refuse help at first, explain that outside assistance from home care agencies can allow them to continue enjoying the things they like to do, while helping them with activities that are becoming a burden.