How To Persuade a Senior They Need Help

Posted on

Aug 02, 2018

Share This
Youre doing what any good person would do, trying to keep tabs on a loved one whos growing older. Youre afraid to broach the idea of getting involved in their affairs, because you dont want to hurt their feelingsor worse, start a fight. Maybe youve even tried to offer your help, only to get rebuffed. Heidi Sklenar Telschow, a personal advisor to clients of Fairviews Caregiver Assurance service, knows its a predicament.
She hears it on a daily basis. When a senior repeatedly resists help, it creates a lot of frustration for the son or daughter or spouse, Heidi says. People will make unsafe and uninformed decisions, and you just want to throw your hands in the air and say, Im done. Getting past your frustration . .The first step is understanding that your loved one isnt necessarily just being stubborn. Its more about them being in denial of their actual abilities, Heidi says, from their eyesight to whether theyre strong enough to handle the stairs. It may take Dad slipping on those last two steps and getting a big bruise on his behind for him to realize. Even if your loved one does grasp the situation, accepting your help can feel like surrender. That final time they hand over those car keys and know they will never go to the store by themselves again, its handing over their independence, Heidi says. To lose that is like giving up who theyve been their entire adult life. Having the talk Heidi has some tips for that difficult conversation about taking on some things your loved one cant or shouldnt be doing anymore. Never present it as an ultimatum: If you do that one more time, I wont keep bringing the grandkids to visit. Like any transition in life, it has to be processed, Heidi says. Its also easy to fall into the trap of shaming or guilting your parent. You might be thinking, Doing this for you is already hard enough; dont make it any harder or I never signed up for this. But saying it to them could increase whatever anxiety or depression theyre having about aging, making it even harder to accept your help and pushing the problem down the road. Bringing a neutral party into the conversation can often break a stalemate. Try to have the advice come from someone elseme, a doctor, a mental health assessor, Heidi says. It takes the weight off the caregiver as the bad guy. You dont have to be the one to pull the plug, so to speak. If its you as the caregiver harping on it, theyll drag their feet. Thats one reason why Fairview launched Caregiver Assurance, which gives you unlimited access to a personal advisor like Heidi and the option of visiting your seniors home and hosting a family conference with you. People always take me up on that, she says. No one ever says, Let me be the one to break Dads heart. Accepting what you can't control In the end, the senior is still in control. Just because you choose to watch out for them or its fallen to you, it doesnt mean theyll let you make all the decisions while theyre still living in their own home. So expect to draw on your deepest reservoir of patience.

People arent going to hear a recommendation just once and accept it, Heidi says. People need time to weigh their options. Reassure them that youre there for them and will do everything you can for their safety, and when theyre ready to make those brave steps for change, youll be there for them no matter how long it takes. Wrap them in support.

Article Provided by:
Fairview Caregiver Assurance
For more information visit:
Phone: 612-672-2273 to speak with one of our Caregiver Advisors.

Other Articles You May Like