One of the biggest hurdles you can face when helping a loved one is resistance to care. How can you help someone who doesn’t want help?

By keeping them involved in decisions and explaining the benefits of home care, you may be able to help your loved one feel more comfortable about accepting the help they need.

What is behind their resistance to home care?

A person who needs care is probably dealing with loss of some kind — loss of mental abilities, loss of physical abilities or the loss of independence. Accepting care means acknowledging that loss.

Allowing caregivers into your home also means losing some privacy and the need to adjust to new routines.

All of these things may cause your loved one to feel vulnerable and frightened. They may also feel angry about needing help, or feel guilty about burdening their family and friends. They may be worried about the cost of care. Some may also believe that accepting help is a sign of weakness.

How to approach your loved one about the need for care

You may be reluctant to bring up the topic if you suspect that they are going to be resistant about their need for care. To start the dialogue….

Chose the right time. Make sure you are both relaxed and comfortable and aren’t rushed. This will make communicating easier.

Ask about their preferences. It’s extremely important that they have a say in the matter. Decisions should be made with their input.

Bring support. Ask family members and friends to join you for this conversation. Their backing may help persuade your loved one to accept the help being offered.

Stay the course. If your loved one is completely unwilling to discuss their care, try again another time.

How to convey the need for care

Getting a person to accept help they don’t want is very challenging. Try to …

  • Stay focused on the big picture. Pick your battles. Don’t argue with them about minor care-related issues. The small details can wait.
  • Do a trial run. Suggest a temporary trial so they can test the waters of home care and experience the benefits for themselves before committing.
  • Explain your position. You may want to let your loved one know that if they accepted care, it would make your life a little easier. That this is something you need as well.
  • Ask a professional. If your loved one is more likely to listen to the advice of a doctor, arrange a meeting to discuss care options with them.
  • Explain how care prolongs independence. Discuss how accepting home care may help them maintain more independence by allowing them to remain in their own home for as long as possible.

If you are dealing with a person with dementia, these strategies and methods may not be appropriate.

You may need to take steps to protect your loved one if they continue to refuse care and are endangering themselves. If it becomes necessary, consider consulting a lawyer familiar with elder care issues to discuss your options.

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