Whether your elderly family member just found out she has dementia or has known for a while, she may not be excited about having help. That can be difficult for you, especially when you can see all the ways that help would make her life easier and safer. So, what can you do?
Ask Her Some Questions
You may know that your elderly family member needs help, but if she’s refusing that help she has a reason. Ask her some questions that help you to understand. Try to keep your questions as non-threatening as you can. The last thing you want is for her to shut down and to shut you out of this conversation entirely.
Try to Put Yourself in Her Shoes
Dementia does change how your senior’s brain works, but take what you know about her and her personality and put yourself in her shoes for a bit. If she’s always been incredibly independent, having help from a caregiver now may feel as if she’s losing that independence. She may also worry that accepting help is a slippery slope that is going to lead straight to a nursing home. Try to see things from her perspective.
Offer Her Some Choices
Do everything that you can to give your senior choices. This will help immensely with those feelings of anxiety around control and independence. Instead of forcing help on her, compromise. Ask her if she’ll accept a trial run arrangement, and let her choose how long the trial will be. Ask her what her deal breakers are, so that you understand what she might be looking for during that trial run.
Be Patient and Try to Take Things Slowly
Above all, you need to be as patient as possible. Your elderly family member might not enjoy the idea of having help from a caregiver in the long run, but that doesn’t mean that she won’t gradually come around in the end. Give her some time to come to terms with what’s happening. It may be that she really just needs to know that you are willing to give her that time and that you’re not trying to force her to accept a solution that she doesn’t want.
Managing care for an elderly family member with dementia is not always easy. There may be a lot of times when you know what’s best and she’s stonewalling you. It’s important to take a deep breath and be patient.