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.
- Enlist the help of a professional. Your loved one may be more willing to listen to the advice of a doctor, lawyer or care manager about the importance of receiving care.
- 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. Focus on the big picture. Avoid fighting with your loved one about minor issues related to his or her care.
- Explain how care may prolong independence. Accepting some assistance may 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 may 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, you may need to take steps to protect his or her health and safety. Consider consulting a lawyer about elder care issues.
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 may be able to help your loved one feel more comfortable about accepting help.
Dec. 16, 2010
See more In-depth
- Caregiving tip sheet — What to consider in the beginning. National Association of Social Workers. http://www.helpstartshere.org/seniors-and-aging/caregiving-tips.html. Accessed Sept. 1, 2010.
- Caregiving tip sheet — The educated consumer's guide to choosing a social adult day program. National Association of Social Workers. http://www.helpstartshere.org/seniors-and-aging/choosing-a-social-adult-day-program.html. Accessed Sept. 1, 2010.
- Making choices about everyday care (for families). Family Caregiver Alliance. http://caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/content_node.jsp?nodeid=406. Accessed Sept. 1, 2010.
- Eldercare at home — Caregiving. AGS Foundation for Health in Aging. http://www.healthinaging.org/public_education/eldercare/2.xml. Accessed Sept. 1, 2010.
- Takahashi PY (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 20, 2010.
- Lunde AM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 23, 2010.
- Rohren CH (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 23, 2010.