How to Get Help for a Resistant Loved One

More times than not, an elderly person will initially be resistant to help. Why?, you might wonder.

The simple answer is that it’s hard to admit there is a problem. For many, accepting help amounts to acknowledging a decline in health and/or cognitive function. It also symbolizes a loss of independence. These changes are a fact of life, but adjusting to the “new normal” is tough and can take time.

The Mayo clinic published an excellent article on March 04, 2017: “Caring for the elderly can be challenging – particularly if a loved one doesn’t want help.” The article offers excellent advice on how to approach a loved one in this situation. Several key insights with some additional thoughts are below.

It all starts with communication. If you are going to initiate the conversation, take the time to make an honest assessment of the “new normal”. Identify what help is needed and what services might fill these needs before you sit down.

Select a place where both of you will feel relaxed. Make sure you will have plenty of time without distractions or other commitments. Begin the conversation by asking questions. Ask your loved one about stress points and problems with daily living. Gather his or her ideas about services that could alleviate these stresses . It is likely you and your loved one will have some common ideas. If your loved one is resistant to the idea of home support, suggest they give it a try for a couple of weeks or months.
Make sure to discuss the cost associated with home support. You may find your loved one assumes the cost is higher than it is or hasn’t considered budgeting for such a service. Simply planning can help allay concerns.

Most importantly, don’t expect too much. If the conversation was not as productive as you hoped, if you could not get a commitment to try home support, it’s okay. Don’t give up. Each conversation helps.

It will often take numerous conversations. If you can, enlist the help of other family members. Your loved one is more likely to seriously consider home support if encouraged by all of his or her family members.

Original Article:

How Do I Know if My Loved One Needs Help?

Everyone’s situation is unique, but the following five questions will help you assess your loved one’s need for in-home support.

  • How many times has he or she been hospitalized in the last year?

Most health-related problems are gradual.  If your loved one is suffering from accidents or falls, or has recently undergone an acute medical procedure, she may need support when she returns to her home.  Getting support for a transition can prevent future incidents and hospitalizations.

How well does your loved one walk?

Difficulty walking could indicate a more significant issue with balance or coordination.  Weakness, numbness in the legs, and shortness of breath can all indicate a more serious issue and should be discussed with a health care professional immediately.

  • How many medications is your loved one using?

As a rule of thumb, the more medications, the greater the chance for possible complications.  How is your loved one managing his medication?  Is he using a pillbox?  Is it his AM and PM medications organized properly?  Does he run out of a medication frequently?  Has he stopped taking a medication? Does he keep a list of all his medications?  The answers to these questions can give you a sense of how well he is handling his self-medication.

  • How well is your loved one managing his or her chronic disease or long-term condition?

By the time most of us reach retirement, we will likely be managing one or more chronic diseases or long term conditions.  How well is your loved one managing these challenges?

Diabetics and Obstructive Sleep Apnea patients will need the help of medical devices.  Ask to look at your loved one’s diabetic meter or CPAP machine.  Is she using the devices?  Are they in good condition?

If a loved one has a history of eczema, look at her trouble spots.  Is she suffering from an outbreak?

Evaluate how well she is managing her chronic or long-term condition.  Is she able to manage it on her own or is it time to get her help?

  • How well is your loved one handling the tasks of normal life?

Spend some time in your loved one’s home.  Evaluate his housekeeping and personal hygiene.

Bedroom:  How often are the sheets being changed?  Is laundry piled up?  Is his bedroom upstairs or down a narrow hallway?

Bathroom:  Is the bathroom clean?  Is he missing towel racks or cabinet doors? Is it a tub-shower combination?

The Importance of a Home Safety Assessment

As physical abilities change with age, it becomes more difficult to navigate home life safely. For this reason, it is important to perform a safety assessment of your aging loved one’s home.  Beyond safety and accident prevention, modifications can increase efficiency and reduce the stress of daily tasks.

The Legg Mason Home Safety Assessment is the most thorough checklist out there.  It combines the criteria from 18 different professional safety assessment firms.

As always, VitalCare is here to support you.  If you need any additional support implementing the items on this checklist, our customer service reps would be happy to help.