What are you to do? You know you require help. You are tired and aren’t spending the quality time with your loved one that you want to since you are running errands, completing chores, managing schedules, and so much more.
The Two Most Common Reasons for Resistance to Care
First off, it is important to understand why they might be resisting outside help or care in the first place. From thinking they simply don’t need the help to being scared of an unknown stranger in their home, reasons vary from individual to individual. The two most common reasons for resistance that the Saige Homecare team has come across include:
#1. Already Have Family Help
“I don’t need any help. My kids / spouse / sibling /etc. does everything for me already.”
At Saige Homecare, we hear this various versions of this statement almost every day. The biggest thing to remember is that, almost always, it is the kid, spouse, or sibling who is actually calling to get the outside help. It can be hard telling a loved one that you, “just can’t handle everything anymore.” That you are not getting the actual QUALITY time that you want with your loved one because you are so busy trying to help them and make sure everything is in order for them to live at home. The hardest conversation you ever have can be that one where you, the caregiver say, “I need help.”
Your loved one may think they don’t need help simply because you do everything for them without them actually knowing the impact that it has on you – physically, emotionally, and mentally. The key to starting this conversation with your loved one is to let them know that you aren’t spending the type of time with them that you want to. That looking for outside help isn’t about taking you away from looking after them. Rather, it’s about freeing you up to spend actual time, real time, with them. That you want to be able to do everything with and for them, but are feeling that additional care can open up space for quality time together, rather than simply going through the motions of “looking after things.”
Having professional home care help come in and provide respite services can alleviate some of the tasks that are overwhelming you as the caregiver. It comes down to the type of time you want to spend with your loved one and how you can best achieve this.
#2. Fear of Losing Privacy and Independence
“I don’t want a revolving door of strangers in my home!”
Fear of a loss of privacy and concerns that their regular lifestyle may be impacted, is a fair concern that your loved one will have. Unfortunately, the caregiving industry does have a reputation for sending shift workers, with no real concern for who is looking after your family member. This adds to the fear of the unknown; not knowing who will come into their home, not knowing who will be at their house each week, not knowing who is coming into their private sanctuary. No one is comfortable with letting a stranger come into their home.
What’s crucial here is helping your loved one meet with a qualified individual who will take the time to build trust with them. There are professional care companies, such as Saige Homecare, where it isn’t just about sending in any “caregiver” who’s free at the moment, but about matching a qualified expert to support you and your loved one on a consistent basis.
Caregiving is as much about matching personalities between your loved one and the caregiver as it is about the actual caregiving part. After all, you want your loved one to accept help so they can have a higher quality of life building memories with you, not being uncomfortable in their own home. By meeting with a professional expert and getting to know who will consistently be part of your loved one’s care team, you begin to build trust between your loved one and the care individuals.
No matter their reason, it is crucial that you first understand and listen to the reasons why there is a resistance to receiving in-home care. Only then can you move forward in a way that’s productive and comfortable for all parties involved.
How to Approach Introducing In-home Care Support
It can be overwhelming or nerve-wracking telling the person you care for that you need help.
When you approach the topic of additional home care support there may be some resistance. Try to remain calm and patient in your conversation. Remember that it may take a while for them to think things over before they agree to even an initial meeting with potential outside care.
However, to start this conversation, focus on why you think YOU need help. Your loved one may simply hear that you no longer want to spend time with them and that they are a burden to you. This couldn’t be farther from the truth since you’re most likely seeking outside help so you can spend better time with them, without being resentful.
It’s about presenting options to your loved one in a way that they’re comfortable. When speaking with caregivers inquiring about how to approach the topic of in-home care services, we recommend simply suggesting a meeting with a company who are experts in the caregiving field to see how they can assist you in organizing the care of your loved one.
When you’re ready to talk about getting additional caregiver support, we suggest:
- Doing it at a time when you are both calm – whether that is when you are having tea together, running errands, or doing something else.
- Do not bring it up when you are overwhelmed in the moment as tensions will rise and resistance will be at full force.
- By approaching the subject of help at a time you’re both in a good mood, you will be able to remain calm and patient. In addition, your loved one will most likely be more honest with why they don’t want outside help, so you can then address their concerns.
In the end, it’s really about getting them to agree to an initial meeting. It’s not about having them agree to a full-blown care plan that’s been established and starts the very next day.
Tactful Honesty is Key
When we’ve had caregivers call us, a common question we hear is “should I be honest with why I think they need help?”
The answer here is that there’s no real easy answer to this. Yes, you should be honest about why YOU yourself need help. That it’s not about making your loved one feel bad about themselves and as though they are an imposition on your life.
Explain to them that it’s not about removing all time of your together. Rather, it’s about adding quality time together. Whether that be preparing meals together or going to doctor’s appointments, you and your loved ones are able to dictate which aspects you want to keep doing together, the rest, such as menial errand running, home chores, and so on, can be completed by a professional, qualified, and trusted caregiver.
The best way to determine what is best for you and your loved one is to have a conversation with a professional and qualified caregiver (preferably one who is a registered nurse) about working together as a team. This way you can have an honest conversation about how to assess your unique situation, and ensure that it is guided in a way that will not demean or degrade anyone.
These conversations are hard and by having an objective third party there, the pressure will be taken off of you. Your situation is different from any other individual one, so the best way to assess what will work well for you and your loved one is to have an expert come in and help build this unique plan.
How to Move Forward
Know that you may have to have this conversation more than once. The key is to not give up. Your loved one may need more than one conversation to realize that you really are just trying to do right by them, helping them – and yourself – to live the highest quality of life that you both possibly can.
Again, it is crucial for your loved one to feel comfortable, so having multiple conversations with an expert – whether in person or over the phone – helps in building the trust they need to feel this comfort.
Remember that just because they say “no” at one point in time, does not mean that they’re going to keep the same opinion time and again. Sometimes the same conversation can trigger a new acceptance, a new realization, a new need to have quality time with you over the need to sit at home while you run out and get their groceries.
Each time you have this conversation, put the help back on you. Keep the focus on the idea that you would feel better if there is a certified expert helping to take care of your loved one when you can’t be there to help. That you would rather spend time with them doing things that truly matter.
If and when they agree to a conversation with an expert, let them know that the professional will work with your family to see what set up of care is going to work the best. After the conversation, it becomes about assessing the situation from an expert point of view, helping to take away your concerns and what the reality of the future is. It’s about building a care plan that everyone is comfortable with, develop it, and then being prepared for anything the future throws at you.
Getting Caregiver Support
It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed when looking after a loved one. It’s also understandable why they may have reservations about getting additional in-home support. At the end of the day, it’s about getting over the hump of the awkward conversations and getting the help that you and your family needs. It’s about bringing back quality time for your family by having an expert caregiver relieve the stress that you are feeling.