Independence is prized among people of all ages. Seniors are no different when it comes to asserting their self-sufficiency. Still, the National Center for Health Statistics claims that as of 2009, at least one in five Americans over the age of 75 required help with some aspects of the activities of daily living.
When older adults need help with managing daily life, a few may display outright resistance to receiving additional help from caregivers with in-home care services. The result is a battle between the seniors’ grown children and the aging folks whose lives would significantly benefit from senior care services.
Why are seniors in denial about care?
Growing old is rarely seen as attractive. While some elders may view their gray hairs as a badge of honor, most older people resist the idea of a future filled with physical frailty, increasing dependency, deteriorating health and other well-recognized age-related characteristics.
Various additional reasons may accompany resistance to extra care. Fear is a motivating factor. Naturally, seniors fear losing the independence needed to function in daily life. Perhaps they also dread the possibility of succumbing to cognitive decline or developing Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.
Embarrassment can stop seniors from reaching out for assistance. Personal activities, such as toileting and bathing, are no longer private when the senior needs additional help. Even financial troubles, like being unable to pay for medications or food, may be humiliating and hinder seniors from accepting care.
When depression sinks in, seniors may feel they are a burden to family members. Older people tell those closest to them that their dependency is a financial drain to the family. These disillusionments are untrue. Yet, the seniors’ pessimism prevents them from getting the care they need.
An aging senior who resists help may not recognize that they are in denial. Concerned loved ones, however, are more than likely to see the senior’s rejections of help in its myriad forms. Confrontation is not recommended. Rather, attempt to discern the cause for the outright denial of help.
Having strangers in the house, lack of privacy in personal activities and the loss of confidence in their abilities to be self-sufficient are common and legitimate reasons seniors avoid the growing reality that extra care is necessary. Pinpointing the reason for reluctance helps families sensitively respond to seniors’ concerns.
How do families respond to denial?
Family members should take note of seniors’ strengths and weaknesses. For example, Mom may be too frail to stand over a hot stove for hours to cook healthy meals; yet she is perfectly capable of tidying up the house. Or, Dad may no longer be able to mow the lawn.
When loved ones help in areas only where help is warranted, it gives the senior a much-needed sense of self-sufficiency in some aspects of life. An adult child can cook nutritious meals for Mom; a lawn service may be hired so Dad does not have to struggle with yardwork.
Gradually introducing help for the aging senior leads to acceptance of additional assistance in the future. The key is to not overwhelm the elderly individual. Incrementally introducing assistance where and when it is truly needed also builds trust. In the long run, help is more likely to be welcomed.
Losing control over their lives instills fear in seniors. Rather than take charge, adult children should give their aging parents a voice. Listen to their needs and include them when resolving issues. Give them the opportunity to have the final say. Empowerment boosts seniors’ confidence levels and reduces denial.
Work with the senior to create age-related goals. For instance, family members may discover the senior wants to remain active in community organizations or religions establishments. Remaining social with friends may be a senior’s priority. Collaborate to achieve the senior’s goals and ward off denial.
An effective way to help the senior move toward accomplishing their goals is to suggest a caregiver. Professionals like these are instrumental in giving seniors as much independence as possible. For example, caregivers can provide transportation to weekly social events and senior yoga classes.
Involving a caregiver in a senior’s life will be accepted more readily if the idea is presented in a tactful way. Rather than withdraw a senior’s driving privileges, introduce the idea of a caregiver who will transport them safely to the grocery store, to doctor’s appointments and to fulfill errands.
Communication is important when confronted with denial. Handle negativity by understanding the emotion is a natural outcome of the life challenges that accompany aging. Attempt to figure out the source of negativity. As much as possible, shower support and care to demonstrate a shared commitment.
Seniors who need extra help can receive dependable assistance while remaining at home instead of moving to a residential or nursing facility; consequently, the memories created in their family home stay with the senior, contributing to an environment of familiarity and ease. Hiring the services of a professional, in-home caregiver from Assisting Hands Home Care is a compassionate response to care needs.
Non-medical home health care services from Assisting Hands Home Care are comprehensive. Seniors with dementia receive quality Alzheimer’s home care from specially trained caregivers. When a terminal illness is diagnosed, our caregivers provide hospice care. Respite care is available for family caregivers who require time away.
Senior home care is replete with services that cater to the activities of daily living. Assisting Hands Home Care caregivers provide help with bathing, grooming, toileting, meal preparation and transportation. Our caregivers also offer companionship, which reduces the stresses associated with loneliness and isolation.
Aging in the comfort and security of home is a natural inclination and is made possible by reputable senior care agencies, like Assisting Hands Home Care. Elder care specialists are available to conduct a complimentary in-home consultation to start the caregiving and care-recipient relationship.
The elder populations in the communities of DuPage County, Illinois, rely on Assisting Hands Home Care for all their non-medical senior care needs.