While it may seem challenging to convince your aging loved one to receive help, it's also necessary for you as a caregiver to understand how challenging it is for your loved one to ask for help.
For many aging Americans, to be asked to move into assisted living often feels like the first step to losing their independence. Because of this, the change in their surroundings or the presence of a home aide may make them feel uncomfortable or unsettled. Fortunately, there are ways in which you can help your aging loved one feel more comfortable making their transition into an assisted living home.
- Listen to your loved one While talking to your loved one may be helpful, it's also important that you listen to what they have to say. Don't lecture them about their fears or tell them they're being irrational. Instead, ask them a big question and listen to the goals, wishes, and values that come from their answer.
By listening to your loved one, preferably in a place that's considered neutral (such as the park), you may be able to build trust and to communicate better in order to understand what may be causing your loved one's stubbornness regarding avoiding help.
- Observe your loved one Another way to understand your aging loved one without being too pushy is by observing them. Don't engage with them in an overwhelmed or worrisome way, but watch what they struggle with and how they behave in certain settings under certain circumstances. As you will with listening, you'll be able to have a better understanding regarding how your loved one operates.
- Contact your local Agency Area on Aging Your local Agency Area on Aging will be able to provide you with advice from experienced and trained elder advisors. They can also provide you with a comprehensive list of community resources. Additionally, because the agency is federally funded, you can simply go to their website to ask for assistance and for more information.
- Adapt your loved one to assisted living Before your loved one gets to the age where they may need assisted living, you may do well to get them acquainted with other assistance tools such as canes and walking sticks for mobility purposes. Up to 10.2% of those elderly Americans over the age of 65 use a cane, so your aging loved one won't feel as self-conscious using canes and walking sticks before they've reached the age where assisted living becomes necessary.
Additionally, because canes and walking sticks come in a variety of unique designs, including a horse head cane or a blackthorn walking stick, your loved one will still have a sense of individuality and independence even when using assisted mobility. Use that uniqueness in other aspects as well. Walkers may not be classy canes, but they don't have to be boring mobility devices that remind your loved one of their age either. Add some color or craft tape along the metal bars to give it some personality.
Convincing your aging loved one that they need help can be a difficult process if they're unwilling to change their lifestyle. Try not to get angry with them. Instead, try to understand their situation from their point of view.
Listen to them, observe them, and then speak to them patiently. It may take a while and you may need the assistance of geriatric care manager in some cases, but with open communication and understanding, you'll be able to reach common ground.