Hiring in home care can be a simple or complicated process, depending on the dynamics in each family. The situation can become even more complex when diagnoses like Alzheimer's or dementia are a factor. Sometimes, an elderly parent or spouse wants (or recognizes that they need) help with daily tasks and errands; then, it’s simply a matter of finding qualified, competent, compassionate care. But there may be other situations in which your loved one refuses care, or does not want outside help in their home. What to do then?
Tips for when a loved one refuses care
If your elderly parent or spouse requires care but is hesitant (or outright refuses), there are multiple factors to consider: what is their own perception of their health and/or ability, are they hesitant to have “strangers” in their home, are there underlying mental health issues, do they like the people hired to help them, etc. Whatever the situation, it’s in the client’s best interest to make sure they feel comfortable and cared for. Here are some considerations if a loved one is refusing care:
- Make sure your loved one is an important part of the decision. Most of us want to be in control of our own lives, even when that ability is slipping away. Incorporating an elder parent into decisions about their own care is an important first step, rather than wholesale making a decision for them. Read here for tips on how to start the conversation.
- Use an agency that has a thorough client-caregiver matching process. For example, at Pennsylvania Agency of Nurses, we have an initial meeting where a member of our management meets the client and his/her family in their home in order to get a good sense of the client’s personality, needs, desires, etc. She then uses this information to hand-select a few caregivers that would be a good profile match, in addition to having the correct qualifications for care. As always, the client ultimately has the final word in who is his/her caregiver, but we rarely have clients ask for changes because we put in the work up front.
- Decipher whether personality or health issues are at play. Perhaps a loved one refuses care because they do not like a particular caregiver. While this can certainly be the case, there are some drugs and diagnoses - like dementia - that may result in a loved one feeling paranoid about a particular person. It’s important to compare your loved one’s demeanor prior to and after a diagnosis to help decipher whether a personality conflict exists, or whether a mental health issue is manifesting itself. Regardless of which, it’s in your loved one’s best interest to surround them with caretakers they are comfortable with.
- Enlist the help of others. The dynamic between elderly parents and adult children can become awkward when it turns out that parents aren’t in a position anymore to take care of themselves. It may be difficult to hear from the children you raised that you need help with things like bathing, food preparation, or taking your medicine on time. For this reason (and each family will have a different dynamic), it may be helpful to enlist the help of another relative, friend, or other trusted person (pastor, poker buddy, bridge partner, etc) to open the discussion about home care.
There are many types of senior care - have you considered them all?
Did you know that there is such a thing as Adult Day Care? When you consider nursing homes, assisted living facilities, in home care, and other options, you’ll realize that there are many opportunities to find the right kind of assistance for your loved ones. For instance, if your spouse or parent enjoys communal living or the company of peers, he or she may be more excited about an assisted living facility. Or perhaps your loved one wants to stay in their own home, where they have raised a family and the setting is familiar and comfortable - in home care is the best fit for that. Perhaps they just need more involvement and social activities to feel as though they are living life fully. Let’s take a quick look at each of the various options for senior care:
- Adult day care: These programs are generally limited to a certain number of hours a day, and are usually intended for adults with special needs or who may need companionship and/or activities to keep them busy and involved.
- Nursing homes: Generally reserved for those seniors who are no longer able to take care of themselves, and who need substantial medical care (as well as assistance with ADLs).
- Assisted living facilities are communities where seniors are not able to (or don’t want to) live in their own homes, but still require some help with daily tasks or errands.
- In home care: There is a wide range of in home care options available, but almost all of them provide assistance similar to that found in assisted living facilities. The big difference, of course, is that your loved one gets to remain at home in a familiar setting.
When the time comes to make a family decision about which type of senior care to implement, all of the above options should be considered. If you want to know more about how the costs of senior care compare, read here.
There may be many reasons that an elderly parent or spouse may refuse care (or at the least, submit grudgingly). It’s important for your loved one’s well-being that any care they do receive makes them feel comfortable and cared for. At Pennsylvania Agency of Nurses, we provide specialized in home care for people in the greater Philadelphia area (including Montgomery and Delaware counties). We pride ourselves on our qualified, competent caregivers, and we spend a lot of time on continuing education for them and focusing on how to best match clients and caregivers. If you’d like to learn more about the services we provide, please contact us today. Even better - hear what former and current clients have to sayformer and current clients have to say!