But, I don’t NEED any help!

Question: My mom had a stroke last month, and though her recovery has been good, she does have a difficult time doing basic household tasks and we are all afraid she is going to fall. All of us kids have full-time jobs and most have kids of our own, so as much as we would like to be there all the time, we can’t be.

Mom doesn’t really want our help, or anyone else’s help. What can we do?

When mom or dad needs help but they don't want it

When mom or dad needs help but they don't want it, what can you do?

Answer: Although this does not happen often (most of the time people welcome the help), it does come up. For example, recently in Auburn, Alabama, the staff spoke with the daughter of a potential client on a Friday. The woman is alone and her family that lives near is good to come by and help. But she is a very high fall risk, and the local relatives cannot be with her around the clock. Thus, this daughter called on us, and after several hours, she conceded to have the in-home assistance provided by Home Instead.

Well, that was Friday. By Sunday, the lady called and cancelled the services, saying she really didn’t see the need!

For our part, we need to understand the “WHY” part of the equation. Why is she so very hesitant to have a CARGiver in her home? Is it financial? Is it the loss of privacy? Is it fear of becoming vulnerable to someone stealing from her?

Is it the THOUGHT that this is a move toward becoming dependent (thus, losing independence) on another person in order to stay in her home? It may even be that she is in denial of the aging process. It’s one thing to say, “I’m getting old”. But it’s quite another to begin to LIVE as one who is old, and BECOME all those negative images associated with aging.

Once the “why” is established, we can begin the work of allaying her fears. If the client is of sound mind, the best recourse is to talk it through. Make sure we identify the need and that everyone concerned with her care is of the same understanding. Be a resource, available for questions and other aids that can be employed to make life easier.

The VERY best course of action, with the resistant client is to give them space, and three names of clients that can clearly communicate what life is like with a CAREGiver.

Obviously, these clients will have granted the permission to share their name with the fearful one. We may even ask them to share personal stories with the fence-sitting client, stories that she can relate to. This particular course of action gives the new client the power to decide WHEN and HOW MUCH care they should receive. They can become informed in a business-like way which helps them to take ownership of this decision.

—Joan, Home Instead Senior Care, Auburn, Alabama

Answer: Sarah addresses the issue of when family members anticipate resistance…

If they anticipate concern about security, we explain our screening process which is pre-employment criminal background check, nation, state and county, pre-employment drug screen, driving record check, personal and professional reference checks and annual review of criminal and driving records as well as random drug screens. Additionally that we are bonded and insured and that our caregivers are employees, not contract workers.
If it is a loss of independence issue, we stress that we maintain the dignity of our clients at all time, we are there to assist where they are comfortable and safe. Our caregivers are not intrusive and are very good at making the client at ease. Once the clients meet our office staff and caregivers, there is usually no longer an issue!

–Sarah, Home Instead Senior Care, Houston, Texas

If you need more assistance, you can download a document designed to help you assess and discuss your parent’s changing needs. You can also call your local Home Instead Senior Care office. We’ll be happy to help!

This question and these answers originally appeared on our Caregiver Forum. Please feel free to add to the discussion!

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