Updated: Oct 20
Your older parents, aging relatives, or elderly loved ones may be resistant to the idea of inviting “strangers” into their home or accepting help, especially from someone they don’t yet have a relationship with. You may be reading this article because you’ve noticed they need extra care, either due to a sudden fall, an accident, or a health incident, or due to normal age-related decline. Even for healthy seniors, taking care of their home, health, finances, hygiene, and day-to-day tasks without assistance can grow increasingly difficult or overwhelming, especially if they live alone or have someone else to take care of.
For older adults who wish to continue to age in place, there are options available to help ensure they make their medical appointments, take their medications and follow doctors’ instructions, eat healthy, stay as active as possible, continue to socialize, and live in a clean, suitable environment. So, how do you effectively talk to someone about enlisting help?
First, make sure to always center the person you’re talking to in the problem-solving and decision process. While their choices may affect you as their caretaker, or other people who participate in providing informal care, as long as they are legally and medically capable of making their own decisions, it is still up to them to ultimately decide on:
· Whether they receive additional care, or any care at all,
· What type of care they are to receive,
· Who they receive services from,
· What financial help they accept or refuse,
· And when and how care is provided.
It’s important to clearly outline why you believe they need in-home help, and even more important to do so in a way that does not come off accusatory. Let them know what your concerns are and that you are coming from a place of worry and empathy. You can also let them know what you are willing to help with, if anything, as well as what other family members might be able to provide so they know what kinds of help are/aren’t available to them outside of professional care.
Make it a discussion, not a lecture.
It’s crucial to gage how the older adult feels about your suggestions, whether they agree, and what they think the best solutions would be. Ask them what they feel they need help with and about the types of help they would be comfortable receiving.
Don’t impose an all-inclusive, permanent option.
Many geriatric care companies offer free consultations as well as one-time assessments to help you determine the extent of services the older adult would need as well as the resources available to them. This could be a great way to bring in professionals experienced in communicating with an older clientele with similar concerns, make a proper introduction, and hear about how certain services have helped other seniors in similar positions.
Other benefits to using a Geriatric Care Management company is the fact that they let clients pick and choose services they would like to receive. For example, if your elderly loved one is unwilling to allow someone to help them bathe or dress themselves, they might still be open to having someone help with preparing healthy meals, arranging transportation, or providing home-cleaning services. Start small! Taking just a couple of things off one’s plate can do wonders in improving their physical and mental health.
Finally, listen with an open mind and try to understand the true reasoning behind any hesitations they may have.
While it could be as simple as having a sense of unease around letting strangers into their lives, it could also be a resistance to accepting a certain degree of a loss of independence, qualms about spending money (or possibly their family’s money) on enlisting help, or a lack of motivation due to depression. In any case, allowing the person to speak in depth about their concerns and responding with genuine understanding may play a big role in putting both parties on the same page and coming up with a suitable solution.
If you are curious about the services a geriatric care management company can provide, you can call the team at Senior Steps for FREE and receive a consultation, including examples of assistances, pricing, and coverage. We look forward to speaking with you!