We’ve all heard it – “I don’t need any help” or “I don’t want anybody in my home”.
Even when everybody involved believes assistance is needed, sometimes it is just simply rejected.
After talking to hundreds of families and assessing a variety of situations, I think there are only a few reasons why someone in need of assistance rejects it – Pride, Loss of Independence, and Money.
This is the first of three short emails about these reasons.
Many older adults come from a time when receiving assistance was frowned upon and you should pull yourself up from your bootstraps. Pride can result in those with hearing impairments refusing to consider hearing aids, those who are unsteady walking refusing to use a cane or walker, and the list can go on and on.
Sometimes, the refusal has less to do with the type of assistance and more to do with who is providing it. It’s fairly common for me to hear from a family we serve that Home Helpers is able to do something that they can’t. I’m rarely surprised at this and if you think about it, it makes sense. I would not relish the thought of one of my sons bathing me or changing my briefs, but one of our trained and experienced caregivers can help out in such a way as to preserve dignity and honor.
A strategy I’ve learned is that it is more helpful to focus on the benefits of assistance or support rather than focus on the deficit. For example, that hearing impaired person might really enjoy hearing a granddaughter’s piano recital, or the unsteady one might appreciate making it onto the sidelines of a grandson’s soccer game. Focus on the benefits and the empowerment achieved through the services or supports while respecting the older adult’s pride.
I tell families all the time that one of the most important aspects of our service is ensuring the right match. When the right caregiver with the right experience and the right training and, perhaps most importantly, the right personality is matched with an older adult we serve, the outcome can be almost magical. Not only can life be added to each day, but I firmly believe that days can be added to life.