What are the most effective strategies for managing resistance to care?

Getting an aging loved one to accept help can be difficult. To encourage cooperation, you might:

  • Suggest a trial run. Don't ask your loved one to make a final decision about the kind of care he or she receives right away. A trial run will give a hesitant loved one a chance to test the waters and experience the benefits of assistance.
  • Describe care in a positive way. Refer to respite care as an activity your loved one likes. Talk about a home care provider as a friend. You might also call elder care a club, or refer to your loved one as a volunteer or helper at the center.
  • Explain your needs. Consider asking your loved one to accept care to make your life a little easier. Remind your loved one that sometimes you'll both need to compromise on certain issues.
  • Pick your battles. Do your best to understand your loved one's point of view, and focus on the big picture. Avoid fighting with your loved one about minor issues related to his or her care.
  • Explain how care might prolong independence. Accepting some assistance might help your loved one remain in his or her home for as long as possible.
  • Help your loved one cope with the loss of independence. Explain to your loved one that loss of independence isn't a personal failing. Help your loved one to stay active, maintain relationships with caring friends and family, and develop new physically appropriate interests.

Keep in mind that these strategies might not be appropriate when dealing with a loved one who has dementia.

What else can be done?

If your loved one continues to resist care and is endangering himself or herself, enlist the help of a professional. Your loved one might be more willing to listen to the advice of a doctor, lawyer or care manager about the importance of receiving care.

Resistance to care is a challenge that many caregivers face. By keeping your loved one involved in decisions about his or her care and explaining the benefits of assistance, you might be able to help your loved one feel more comfortable about accepting help.

Apr. 14, 2014 See more In-depth