Welcoming a new person into your daily life can cause anyone to feel apprehensive. For seniors beginning home care, it’s understandable that they may feel resistant to having someone they don’t know care for them all of a sudden. The help may be perceived as an invasion of privacy, a loss of independence, or a waste of money. Yet, in-home assistance is often critical in offering caregivers a break and time to relax and rejuvenate.

There are ways to make this transition easier. With the right approach, you may be able to encourage your loved one to receive caregiving services. Here are some tips for making your loved one feel more comfortable with in-home help.

How to help:

  • Listen to your loved one’s fears and reasons for not wanting in-home care. Express your understanding of those feelings. If possible, get your loved one involved in choosing the aide. They may feel more invested and comfortable with the decision. Show your loved one that you really care about why they are resisting. Hearing them with compassion (rather than pushing an agenda) builds trust. Many parents do not like being told what to do. Instead, ask how they would recommend solving the problem. Ask about their priorities and give them choices. 
  • Reframe the benefits: Many seniors see home care as “giving up,” but good aides offer vibrant social engagement, promote independence, peace of mind, and help seniors find more time to enjoy life. Remind your loved one of these benefits and how they could improve their quality of life.
  • Share your feelings: Parents love their kids and don’t want to be a burden. Share how it might be affecting you in a way they can empathize with without blaming them. For example, you could say, “We want more quality time with you.”
  • Start gradually: Discuss options ahead of time and make sure you’re on the same page. This will help minimize tension and disagreements. Once an aide is chosen, begin by having them come only a couple of hours each week if possible, then add hours as your loved one builds a relationship with the caregiver. If you feel comfortable with the attendant running errands or preparing meals that can be brought to the house, you can start with those services, which can be done outside the home.

Some things you can say:

Oftentimes, it’s what we say that does a majority of the convincing. Our loved ones just want to feel understood and as though their voice is heard during such transitional decision-making in their lives. If your loved one is refusing homecare, try leading with these phrases or something similar: 

“This is for me. I know you don’t need help:” Expressing the need as yours, rather than your loved one’s, helps maintain their sense of dignity and independence. You can also add that having someone stay at home allows you not to worry while you are gone. Make it clear that you will be coming back.

“This is prescribed by the doctor:” Doctors are often seen as authority figures and your loved one may be more willing to accept help if she feels that she is required to do so.

“This is a free service:” This strategy may work if other family members are paying for the home care or if it is, in fact, provided without charge. Your loved one may be more open to using the service since she they won’t feel like them or anyone they love is spending money for it.

“This is only temporary:” This strategy depends on the condition of your loved one’s memory. By presenting the situation as short-term, you will give some time for your loved one to form a relationship or become comfortable with home care as part of their daily routine.

In the end:

Providing your loved ones who are apprehensive towards homecare with gentle reassurance will lessen their fears about loss of independence or whatever fears they may be  having. A calm situation can prevent them from feeling guilty, frustrated, helpless, and angry. Understanding that elderly refusing care is common is also important for making progress with your loved one. You don’t have to directly tell them they are disabled. Instead, show them that despite their circumstances, they are still whole and important. In this stage, empathy and validation are what they truly need.

Family of older loved ones should always be open and prepared for possibilities of future health problems. If you’re currently looking for home care options for your loved one, you can prepare through early conversations about how a member sees himself in the future. If you’re dealing with a loved one refusing home care, and curious about ways to express the benefits, visit our website for more information or give us a call. Renaissance is always willing to help to ease any concerns and explain the process in full detail.

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