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When Your Care-receiver
Doesn't Want Help

There may be times when your loved one simply says no. When he or she wants nothing to do with what you're proposing. You may have come up with what you think is a great solution to whatever problem or need your care-receiver is facing, but he or she doesn't see it that way. And so he digs in his heels or she gets that look in her eyes, and you know it's going to take a lot of work on your part to get your loved one to budge on this one.

What can you do to avoid that kind of confrontation?

--Prepare for a crisis. It helps to talk about concerns early and often. It's much easier to hold what-if discussions before a crisis arises. "What if you need some help around the house?" "What if you can't safely drive anymore?" What could your loved one do, what could you do, what could someone else do to help out? What are other people you both know doing in those situations, or not doing? The more comfortable your care-receiver is discussing what-ifs, the easier it will be for him or her to tell you when he needs the help.

--Give some options. If there's already a need, don't present your choice as "the solution." Try to give a number of possibilities. Let your care-receiver decide. If he or she isn't mentally competent, get professional help to assist you in planning and making necessary decisions.

--Go with the minimum service first. Maybe, for example, Mom doesn't want someone in her home several days a week, but she'll agree to a person coming in for two hours once a week to help with the cleaning or laundry. As she and the in-home worker get to know each other, the idea of increasing those hours and the workload may not be nearly as threatening to her.

--Preserve independence. Your goal is not to take over your loved one's life but to assist him or her in getting what's needed. That can be done without trampling on his or her right to choose. It can be done while continuing to show great love—and respect—for your care-receiver.