Imagine you have lived in the same place for over 20 years. You are comfortable, all of your stuff is there and you have the freedom to do as you please. Then some do-gooder comes along and tries to tell you what to do. That is how a senior feels when someone tries to come along and “help them” live in their own home. If someone came to your house and told you how to live wouldn’t you feel the same way?
For the family member or caregiver it is easy to forget that when we go into a senior’s home we walking on someone else’s turf. As family members we get wrapped up in accomplishing the task of care giving that we forget about the reason for being there in the first place; to help a senior stay in THEIR home safely.
This is why seniors are so reluctant to let family members and caregivers help them with day-to-day needs. They feel like each time they accept help they are giving up a little bit of their independence.
So how do we convince an independent minded senior that it is time for a little help? Here are some tips
PUT THEM IN THE “DRIVERS SEAT”
Just because you can clearly see that a senior needs help doesn’t mean they see it the same way. Remember to them this is a battle for their independence. If you are going to help them, they will have to be in charge.
We do this by using an Elder-Centered Approach. Ask the senior how they want to live their life everyday then talk about the challenges to living that life. By taking this approach, you are more likely to get them to accept help on their terms.
There may come a time when you will have to hire a caregiver to come into a senior’s home. Home Care is very helpful but very invasive. To help take the fear out of having a stranger come into your seniors home conduct interviews of caregivers or care giving companies with the senior present.
That way the elder family member can learn more about the service being provided and ask questions of the company prior to them starting. This puts the senior at the center of the decision on which caregiver to hire.
TAKE YOUR TIME
For a senior, it is difficult enough to accept care but even more difficult to get things started. Remember the senior is facing the loss of some of their independence and that would be emotionally draining to anyone.
The entire process of accepting care is overwhelming. Rushing through it and you risk the chance the senior will dig in and grind everything to halt. Although your time is important, your timeline for getting things done could overwhelm the senior you are trying to help.
Take your time and explain every step of the process. Try to focus on the task at hand before moving to far ahead in your plan. This will help the senior feel more in control of the situation.
Have patience and empathy for your senior and you will have success getting them the help they need to stay safe in their own home.