One of the most common dilemmas of caregiving is getting our loved ones to admit they need help. Just the thought of their independence be in question is devastating to them.
More than half of seniors will refrain from ever asking for help, even from their own adult children or siblings. The attempt of self-preservation is usually the cause of many family spats that can escalate into some intense altercations that go way beyond the simple silent treatment.
And unfortunately, those with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia related disease can become experts at maintaining the appearance that all is well during the early part of the disease, some to the point where they are endangering themselves.
Our seniors are passionately private people and often quite stoic. They have come form a proud upbringing and will fight for every last bit of independence they have.
Working on the respite program that the Dementia Spotlight foundation provides I have run into this so many times. I will have free home care scheduled for a dementia caregiver in need and they will cancel the day before; telling me “I can’t do this. I’ve been with my wife since high school. It’s my job to care for her.” I have often responded, “Don’t make me get down on my knees to beg you to take free help!”
We also need to understand that the women of this generation are from a different time. They took pride in becoming homemakers and becoming caregivers for their families. It was a different life back then, men where the bread winners. Times have definitely changed.
This makes it a lot more difficult to accept benevolent assistance from anybody from that generation, all the way up to when it is time to climb Jacob’s Ladder.
Now, one of the biggest problems lies with trying to get them to accept having a stranger enter their home. Many will battle have their own daughter or son help run their household.
It is best to try to ease them into this new lifestyle gradually. Tell them that you wish to only try this new caregiver for an hour or two. However, keep in mind that most homecare agencies will not do smaller caregiver shifts less than four-hour blocks. If it does not work out, inform them you will try to find someone else.
You will most likely hear many accusations of how their stealing from them, talking behind their backs, etc. My dad would become extremely verbally abusive at times. But if the caregiver is professional, she or he should be able to brush those defamations off their shoulders.
Hopefully you can slowly get them to adapt. Eventually, they might actually look forward to their caregiver’s visits.