Family members and loved ones are often the first to notice when an older relative starts declining physically or mentally. Still, aging older adults aren't always ready to admit that they need assistance. Convincing an aging relative or loved one to move into a senior living community can be difficult, but the right approach might break through the reluctance.
Why Older Adults Reject Assistance
Many older adults resist the idea that age has taken a toll on their mental or physical health because they have a negative association with the idea of being old. Some seniors think that being old involves having a negative attitude, confusion, frailty and forgetfulness, and they don't view themselves as having those qualities. Occasional memory lapses are brushed off as not being significant enough to warrant intervention, and physical difficulties are treated as minor inconveniences.
Older adults often place a lot of importance on maintaining an independent lifestyle and making their own decisions. For many seniors, the idea of moving into a senior living community or getting help with everyday tasks means giving up their self-reliance. Other seniors may feel afraid to make such a major lifestyle change without spending a lot of time considering all the options. Understanding where your parent's reluctance is coming from may be key to overcoming it.
Assessing an Older Adults Need for Assistance
When your aging parent is reluctant to get help, forcing the issue isn't likely to work. Instead, you need to make an accurate assessment of what your older relative can and cannot do. Focusing your efforts on getting assistance for specific tasks, such as cooking and self-care, may make it easier for your parent to accept help. Make sure to acknowledge the things your parent can still do independently and make suggestions built around those abilities. If your parent enjoys painting or gardening, focus on how becoming a resident in a senior living community with those options can give them more time and support to pursue those hobbies.
When you're trying to convince an older adult to get help, choose your battles carefully. Place more emphasis on safety matters, such as falling and security, and less on more general issues of daily living, such as paying bills and grocery shopping. If you're constantly bringing up trivial reasons for your aging relative to move into an assisted living community, more serious concerns might get dismissed.
Approaching an Older Adult About Getting Assistance
Before approaching an aging adult, determine exactly what kind of help you're proposing. If you're trying to get an elderly parent to stop driving, come prepared with information about the available transportation options at the community you're considering. Bring details, pull up websites or share printed brochures about the place you want your parent to consider.
Make your pitch to aging parents a solution to maintain their independence and ease annoyances so they can enjoy life more fully. Avoid making demands or focusing on the senior's weaknesses. Let aging parents know that accepting help doesn't mean giving up their dignity.
One strategy that adult children sometimes use to convince a parent to get help is to bring in the grandchildren. Knowing that young children in the family are worried about grandma or grandpa can sometimes get an aging parent to consider options they'd resist from their adult children. Don't use guilt to drive the conversation, though. Instead, frame the discussion around the idea that the younger kids want to see their grandparents well cared for, and easing those concerns might give the older and younger generation more time to spend enjoying each other's company.
When it Doesn’t Go as Planned
In some cases, a loved one simply refuses to get help. If the senior is of sound mind, there isn't really a lot that family members can do. You may need to accept the fact that your parents are adults and can make their own care decisions even if they continually make bad decisions. If your parent has dementia, it may be an exception. Since dementia makes it hard for seniors to recognize their own limitations, you may have to seek out legal intervention to ensure appropriate care. If you have to move a senior relative into a memory care community, remember to empathize with your parent's Alzheimer's care plan to make the transition as painless as possible.
How can Brightview Senior Living Help?
At Brightview Senior Living, we believe in independence, possibilities, and choice. We have a dedicated team of associates to help residents make the most of each day. Our vibrant living directors are responsible for fun recreational activities to help residents live a vibrant lifestyle, delicious meals are created by our amazing chefs, and our trained care staff help residents with daily tasks of living can make your parent feel right at home. Contact us today to schedule a personal visit, or find a local community!