Quick Tips: Caring for a Loved One and Dealing with Resistance

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Thank you for joining us for another Quick Tips episode of All Home Care Matters. Caring for a loved one comes with many challenges, one of them being resistance. Your loved one may resist your help, which can be frustrating as a caregiver. Today, we are going to be talking about dealing with resistance while caring for a loved one, as well as uncovering the reasons your loved one may be resisting accepting help in order to help you both work together better. Now let’s move on to the rest of the show.

According to New Wave Home Care, caring for a loved one undoubtedly adds a mixed bag of emotions to the caregiving process. Not only does assisting an aging family member make you witness to any challenges they face, but you maintain a personal and sometimes painful connection to them while also navigating the difficult world of senior health care and wellness. Perhaps one of the most disheartening circumstances as a caregiver is when your help goes unappreciated, or even worse, unwanted. In caring for an elderly family member, you might carry out tasks for your loved one without any acknowledgment or thanks. Sometimes older adults flat out resist care altogether. It is not uncommon to witness your loved one reject the care of professional care services, or even protest against help offered by you or other members of your family.

If your loved one is resisting care, it can be harder for you to make sure they are safe and their needs are being met. Your loved one resisting or refusing care may annoy, exasperate, or anger you, but it is important to take a step back and evaluate the situation. Why are they resisting care? Try to look at things from your loved one’s point of view instead of from a caregiver’s perspective. Fallon Health says that from your perspective as a caregiver, it may seem that everything would be much better if only your loved one would stop being unreasonable and start cooperating. But the difficult behavior you see may actually be your loved one’s attempt to keep control and maintain a sense of autonomy.

Look at the situation from your loved one’s perspective. Whether physical or cognitive, decline can be accompanied by a strong sense of loss for the person experiencing it. As the ability to do things independently declines and dependence increases, frustration can grow.

Driving is a common pain point for many seniors and families. If you haven’t dealt with a loved one who continues to drive long after it’s advisable, then you probably know someone who has. The tangible and symbolic loss of independence that goes with giving up driving can be difficult to accept. Many refuse to look objectively at their driving, because they fear that they’ll have to admit it’s time to stop. And they recognize that, when they turn over the keys, their dependence on others will grow.

Driving is just one instance where your loved one eventually has to lose their independence. As they continue to need more and more help, they also continue to lose more and more of their independence. Oftentimes, your loved one isn’t trying to resist you, but they are resisting losing their independence, and I think that is something we can all understand.

Now that you know why your loved one is resisting care, let’s discuss how you can help your loved one when they do not want your help.

When caring for a loved one, it is important to continue to treat them with respect. You and your loved one are both going through a difficult time and there will most likely be times when you slip up and treat your loved one more like a child than someone with years of lived experience, and that’s okay, but you should always try to make the effort to treat your loved one with respect. This goes both ways, though. Your loved one should treat you with respect. If this ever becomes an issue for you and your loved one, sit down and have a conversation with them about it and let them know how it makes you feel. You also have to be ready to own up to your own mistakes, apologize, and be ready to make the necessary changes to continue with your caring relationship.

When dealing with resistance, you should first evaluate what care your loved one needs. If you are providing more care than your loved one needs, pulling back and allowing them more independence may help your situation. If your loved one is able to do more for themselves, they may resist less.

The next thing to do is sit down with your loved one and asked them about their preferences. Mayo Clinic suggests asking if your loved one has a preference about which family member or what type of service provides care? While you might not be able to meet all of your loved one's wishes, it's important to take them into consideration. If your loved one has trouble understanding you, simplify your explanations and the decisions you expect them to make. Being involved in their own care decisions can help mitigate resistance, as well.

Mayo Clinic also tells us that 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 they receive right away. A trial run will give a hesitant loved one a chance to test the waters and experience the benefits of assistance. Allowing them to make the decision also helps them maintain more of their independence.

If you are still experiencing resistance after trying the strategies we have discussed so far, try bringing in other family members or friends to assist you. Leaving the situation, even just for a few hours, may help your loved one be more cooperative, especially if you spend a lot of time together. Everyone needs a break at times and caregivers need breaks more than others to avoid caregiver burnout. For more information on caregiver burnout and for ways you can care for yourself while caring for others, visit our YouTube channel where we have a dedicated playlist for Caregiver Support.

The last strategy we are going to be covering today is bringing in a professional. According to Smith Life Home Care, professional medical practitioners or reliable family members, whom your aging loved ones admire and respect, can play a significant role in offering them perspective and insight. Ask your family physician or other reliable professionals to come over and talk to them and emphasize how the care will improve their quality of life as well as your peace of mind.

It is often seen that the seniors and caregivers become well-acquainted with each other after a point of time, and the elders start appreciating their company. But, to turn that into reality, you will need to give them time to learn how this new setup will be beneficial for them.

And, who else can explain it to them better than a doctor or professional they trust wholeheartedly? A professional can elevate their skepticism towards accepting care by explaining how a caregiver will speak their language and make their lonely hours relaxing and enjoyable.

Keep in mind that your loved one is experiencing a lot of changes. Needing your help can be tough for them. Remember to put yourself in their shoes and see how you would feel if you were no longer able to care for yourself. And above all, practice respect and kindness wherever you can.

We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode, please share it with them.

Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. We look forward to seeing you next time on All Home Care Matters, thank you.

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/caregivers/in-depth/caring-for-the-elderly/art-20048403

https://www.newwavehomecare.com/how-to-respond-to-an-elderly-loved-one-resisting-care/

https://www.fchp.org/caregiver-blog/2018/November/dealing-with-resistance.aspx

https://www.smithlifehomecare.com/how-to-extend-love-and-support-to-seniors-who-resist-care/

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