How to Help Seniors Accept Caregiver Support
23 February 2021
For some aging seniors, it can be difficult to accept the presence of a caregiver in their daily lives. Trained care providers are brought in to improve an aging person’s quality of life but can sometimes face rejection by those they care for.
Seniors can refuse to work with a caregiver for many reasons, even when family members want them to do so. Standoffs like this are common and can be confusing for family members that want the best for their loved one.
Reasons Why Seniors Reject Caregiver Support
There are many reasons why a senior may want to refuse help, and it is important to understand the reason behind their hesitancy.
Fear is a strong driver in most of these situations, as seniors are forced to confront some of their insecurities upon the arrival of a caregiver. They may also be unwilling to lose their privacy and feel uncomfortable in their own homes.
Some seniors can feel hurt that family members are unable or unwilling to care for them instead of an outsider. Others have a hard time accepting that they aren’t as independent or capable as they used to be and fight the reality that they need assistance.
After a lifetime of self-sufficiency it can be hard for people to trust a new person during the most vulnerable time of their lives. Even if it is necessary for their well-being, some seniors don’t feel safe and secure letting people into their home and personal life.
Mental health concerns can exacerbate these concerns, especially for seniors dealing with dementia. These individuals can experience mood swings and memory issues that can make it hard to build trust quickly.
So what can be done to help seniors trust and embrace caregivers? We wanted to highlight some steps family members can take to help their loved ones accept outside care.
Start By Understanding Their Fears
Aging and losing independence can be a scary experience for seniors. In fact, the aging process can trigger strong feelings of fear, anger, helplessness, and frustration within elderly individuals.
For family members looking to bring in caregivers, it is essential to first understand any fears or concerns their loved ones may have about their situation. If a senior is concerned about losing their independence, inform them that caregivers can actually support their desire to be self-sufficient by assisting exactly when they want them to.
If a senior is afraid of outsiders and dealing with trust issues, work with them to find a caregiver that is a great match.
Invite the senior to join in on the interview and hiring process so they feel involved and have the opportunity to voice their opinion. Doing so can help alleviate their fear of strangers and make it easier to accept a new caregiver.
For seniors with dementia, make sure to bring in caregivers that understand how to deal with dementia symptoms. It can also help to participate in the care process as the new relationship forms between your loved one and the new caregiver.
During this time, make sure communication is flowing smoothly and positively between your loved one and the caregiver. Your presence will also help reassure your loved one and reduce any fears and anxieties that may be heightened due to dementia symptoms.
Be Patient and Supportive
Getting a senior to open up and accept care can take time and effort. For those looking to change their minds, it’s important to take a patient and understanding approach.
Try to get your loved one to open up and share exactly what bothered them about working with a caregiver. By asking open-ended questions you may uncover a small problem that can be easily fixed.
Making seniors feel comfortable with outside help is the best way to increase the chances of them accepting a caregiver. Make sure they feel validated in their feelings and offer them different options to maximize their comfort.
Allowing seniors to make decisions wherever possible is vital to helping them feel in control of their lives. Showing your support and patience during this critical time can significantly help ease stress levels and make caregiving easier.
As you can see, there are many reasons why an aging senior may want to reject the support of a caregiver. The aging process can be scary and family members can make this time easier for seniors by providing their support and patience.
By working to understand a senior’s fears and concerns, caregivers and family members can work to ease their worries. Making a loved one feel more comfortable, safe, and secure is a great way to ease them into a caregiving situation. Help them keep their self-sufficiency wherever and possible and make them feel understood to introduce caregiving into their lives.
For more questions about getting a loved one caregiver support, please contact us by clicking here.