How to get loved one to accept help?

Stacey Gordon is a geriatric care manager.  She recently posted about how to get a loved one to accept caregiving assistance. Here are excerpts from that post:

The word “caregiving” is intensely evocative, and identifying a loved one’s need for care can be emotionally stirring. … We may have watched someone fall and pick themselves up, stubbornly refusing to either ask for or accept our help, and feel an increasing sense of defeat at our inability to give our loved ones the help they need.

In my role as geriatric care manager, I am often contacted after loved ones watch an older adult struggle and reject their offer of help. Concerned clients ask “how do I get my loved one to accept the kind of care I think is good for her, or any care whatsoever?” This very question in most cases, is misconstrued. Regardless of how compromised you feel your loved one might be, and no matter how much of a challenge their stubbornness might pose, you must be patient. Your job is to initiate and then revisit a conversation about care. The conversation should begin with the type of care they think is best for them, while offering your opinion in a way they can hear. You can then, through discussion, and with patience, strive for a resolution all will embrace.

One caveat: If you have cause for concern about a loved one in a life threatening situation, posing an imminent danger to themselves or others, clearly a medical professional should be notified immediately, to recommend emergency care.

By no means should your loved one be in the position of having care foisted upon them, as long as they are able to make an independent decision. Indeed, long after we may question a loved one’s judgement, it may well be possible for that person to make a viable decision for care, on their own terms. It behooves us to respect an older adult’s lifetime of experience, self determination, dignity and expectations for the next phase of their life. It’s our job to think about making decisions for care with them, and if needed, support them to enact their plan.

Here’s a link to the full post if you’d like to read all of it:

Considering Caregiving
Huffington Post
by Stacey Gordon, Consultant, Care Manager, Advocate, Mediator