It can be very disturbing when elderly parents will not cooperate in order to assure their well-being.
When an elderly parent refuses help, adult children often become frustrated and angry and sometimes just give up. That is not an appropriate solution for either the child or the parent. Aging parents want to be acknowledged as being independent, responsible adults.
Senior care providers often can act as mediators between the parent and the child, allowing each party to have a calm conversation regarding the best solution for the aging parents. Frequently, parents are at odds with children because they have dementia or some other cognitive impairment. Other times, they simply do not want to spend the money that is required to hire a caregiver.
Determine whether they are financially able to pay for the care. If they are, persist in trying to change their minds. If they are not, have a viable option in mind.
Federal Long-Term Care Insurance & Long Term Care for Veterans
Two programs that seniors may overlook are federal long-term care insurance and long term care for veterans.
Federal long-term care insurance can be of assistance if the parent has been a Federal employee or is a qualified relative. They may have another form of long-term care insurance with a different insurance company but do not remember purchasing it. Check their important papers to ascertain the type of benefits for which they may qualify.
Federal long-term care insurance has many benefits that make it very desirable. Premiums remain the same regardless of age, and it is renewable and transferrable. Of course, those who are not Federal employees still have numerous lower-cost options if they procure it early enough.
Long term care for veterans may be available to those former military persons who receive a pension and whose annual income falls within the guidelines for eligibility. This added benefit may help them have a better quality of life by paying for elder home care service.
In-Home Care & Elderly Care Providers
The best time to approach parents about their wishes is before the need arises.
Have a discussion about finances, insurances, and their wishes for the time when they can no longer make those decisions for themselves. Encourage them to purchase long-term-care insurance as early as possible because the premiums are much lower the earlier they purchase it. It can help meet the basic essentials in an adult day care, assisted living facility, respite care, hospice care, or in the home.
Professionals within an elder home care service can be of tremendous support because they are trained to help with routine daily tasks as well as with dementia care, if that is needed. These senior care providers are more likely to manage aging parents because they do not have the same emotional attachment as the children. Becoming a caregiver for the elderly, whether it is a professional service or a family member, requires patience and understanding.
Why do Seniors Refuse Home Care?
Some of the challenging issues that make this role reversal uncomfortable for older children are:
The Issue of Driving
Their parents were likely the ones who taught them to drive, so to suggest that it is time for them to stop driving is a hotbed issue. Parents want to feel independent, and giving up driving signals that their independence is over. It may be better if older children approach the topic from the standpoint of wanting them to relax while they drive them, or discuss how they worry about irresponsible drivers who may cause an accident and injure them. You can also suggest other means of transportation for your senior.
It is very important to recognize the signs that parents should give up driving. Age-related maladies, both physical and cognitive, are dangerous for themselves as well as others on the road. When nothing else works, and the parent is posing a danger to himself and others, report the parent to the Department of Motor Vehicles as being an unsafe driver. Let them do the dirty work.
Adult children should have the discussion about what their parents have planned. Impress upon them the necessity of having a will or trust so that their hard-earned money will go where they intend rather than to the state or to attorneys and court fees.
Plans for Long Term Care
Given a choice, most seniors would prefer to stay in their own homes as long as possible, but this may not be realistic. All kinds of problems can occur with this option, such as serious health concerns, falling prey to scammers, failing to take medications appropriately, or failing to take care of pertinent financial issues. Having long-term care may be the best resolution.
Maintaining quality of life is one of the most basic concerns for elderly parents.
Tips for Talking About Care with Your Elderly Parents
Sit down with parents and develop contingency plans. Name the various scenarios that may become a reality further down the road. Ask them for their preferences if they are still thinking rationally.
Be proactive. Let parents know that you are interested in learning everything there is to know regarding their health from doctors, online material, and from people who have had the same experiences.
If incontinence is an issue, supply them with the products they will need. Assure them that there is no need to be embarrassed and that millions of other people have the same problem.
Maintaining open conversations with parents about sensitive topics will help both of you. Have some idea about probable solutions before you begin the discussion. Study, research, and dialogue with others to acquire information about how to address the topic. Let them know the various options available to them, and allow them to have input, if possible.
If parents prefer in-home care to an assisted living facility, find ways to make that happen if it is at all possible. Do not be cavalier in your discussion with them. Allow them to make as many of the decisions as they can reasonably make, and parents will feel loved and supported. Do not insist on an answer right away. Give them time to think about what has been discussed, but be authoritarian in bringing the subject up again soon. If they have sound minds, let them know that you support whatever plausible decision they make.
To give parents a fulfilling experience as they age, approach this time with a desire for them to maintain their dignity and independence to the extent possible. Be empathetic and understand that elderly parents have a lot on their plate. Aging is not easy, so forget about telling them what they are going to do, and focus on making sure their waning days are filled with as much love and support as you can muster.
Adult children who have guardianship of an elderly parent have many decisions to make, especially when that elderly parent refuses help, or may be in need of dementia care. This is the time to be diligent and vigilant and make use of senior care providers to help them meet basic needs. As a caregiver for the elderly, he or she may be the crucial missing piece in the conversation with parents.