Elderly parents who are very resistant to any of your well-intended help may be among the ones who need it most. It’s very common for senior adults to insist they are “just fine, thank you” at managing their daily lives even if it is evident they’re in need of some level of assistance to remain independent.
How do you encourage a resistant parent to receive some extra help that would improve their quality of life and well-being? Here is the first of our three well-experienced blog posts on the topic:
Step 1: Stop Accusing and Start Listening
Curb your own accusatory insistence that your elderly parents aren’t doing a good enough job of caring for themselves, so help is needed. Stop pointing out the obvious things they’re doing incorrectly or inappropriately in a way that is accusatory. “Mom, you’re still wearing the same outfit you’ve had on all week, when are you going to change into something clean?” Or “Dad, why did you leave the front door unlocked again?”
We think that pointing out mistakes will bring them to realize their mistakes and then make future steps to change them. Wrong. It may make them feel frustrated, embarrassed, helpless and isolated. Chances are they’ll be less likely to ask you for help when they truly need it, lest they give you another chance to degrade them. This type of accusatory talking is only going to push you further away from getting their acceptance of help, and you may not even realize you’re sabotaging your own goals.
Imagine yourselves in their slippers. They’re aging, they realize all too well that time is limited. Their bodies are changing noticeably and so are their abilities, and it is out of their control. They have all the change they can deal with! Good news is that changing your approach is something you can do.
Listen to yourself. What do your words, facial expressions and body language say to or about them? Are you using an accusatory tone? By being a trusting companion you can start to truly help them and open the communicative paths needed to transition into homecare help.
Being in, or moving into, a residential care facility for the elderly significantly increases their risk of depression compared to those older adults fortunate enough to remain in their own homes and communities. A 2010 study completed by CIHI – Canadian Institute for Health Information – looked at more than 50,000 Canadians living in residential care facilities such as long-term, nursing and personal care homes, and found that nearly 44% had signs of depression. Almost half!
It’s well documented that depression produces a myriad of negative effects. Feelings of isolation, withdrawing from social activities, and a disinterest in eating and remaining physically active are just a few serious concerns that affect quality of life in these more vulnerable persons. Whether these elderly residents are diagnosed with depression or not, they may experience unstable health conditions, decline in self-sufficiency, cognitive impairment, conflict or withdrawal, sleep disturbance and other challenges.
The results of the CIHI study highlighted a real need for prevention, identification and treatment.
Remaining at home or moving into a residential facility is a personal decision for each family with their own unique circumstances and considerations. Staying in familiar surroundings with the things we’ve acquired throughout our lives and in the patterns we’ve developed is not what everyone wants. Some older adults adapt gladly to the changes of living in a more close-knit life some residences offer, while others obviously don’t, as this study shows.
Where to have mom or dad living is a major consideration that may affect their total well-being for the remainder of their lives and should not be taken lightly. Consider homecare for as long as possible and work within the community to keep your loved one active and social with the many support groups and with visiting caregivers such as those at Premier Homecare Services.
To speak with a knowledgeable Care Coordinator about navigating your care options, contact your local Premier Homecare Services office.
RELATED POSTS & RESOURCES:
Signs Your Elderly Parent Needs Homecare Help – Premier Homecare Services blog post
Depression in the Elderly – WebMD Guide
When Elderly Parents Want to Stay at Home – Premier Homecare Services blog post