The fact that your parents took care of you when you were an infant and couldn’t fend for yourself, makes almost all of us grateful and indebted. That is why when it comes to taking care of them in their old age, we can go crazy trying to find the right balance. Because sometimes it might come as a shock that the person you so needed in your life now needs you to look after them. They may not be receptive to your offer, but you can clearly see that they can not do without it.
Caring for the elderly is no easy task. These are fully grown adults with their own opinions on how they should live their lives. That is why we are first going to look at how to deal with their resistance to your help before we can go through some tips on how to care for them.
Dealing with Resistance
The main reason most elderly folk refuse your help is because they do not want to be a burden to you. They perceive their dependence on you as an injustice and unfair to you and yours. Either that, or they feel that, if they accepted your help, they will lose their independence which means no more privacy and having to adjust to new routines. While in the real sense, all you are is truly concerned about them. So the best way to approach your loved one about their need for care is:
– Timing. Your timing needs to be great. When you are both relaxed and just talking. This way, there is a greater chance they will not perceive it as a decree but a conclusion that you both came to after objectively discussing the options.
– Ask family members or friends to help. Ask someone you know they trust to speak to them for you.
– Ask their opinion. Especially on what type of care they might be willing to accept in the meantime. We can gradually increase this, but first let them know that their opinion matters and it’s their comfort we are seeking.
– Keep at it. They may not be receptive at first, don’t push, but don’t shelve the discussion either. Bid your time and bring it up again and again till a conclusion and solution is reached.
– Explain to them how by accepting care and help, they can prolong their valued independence. This is mainly because they will remain in their home and not have to move in with you.
In all this, you still need to be taking care of them and patience is going to be your number one virtue. You also need to learn to forgive and forget. Sometimes the elderly might lash out at you, it’s probably nothing personal, they are just feeling threatened and helpless. Try to listen to them as opposed to just giving directives. Understand their needs and do not look at them as a burden. Remember, they didn’t want this, it’s your concern for them that led you to insisting upon it. When the going gets exceptionally tough, and often it will, just remember how much they mean to you and where you would be without them. You could also enlist the help of a professional care giver, but remember to discuss it with them first.