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When a Loved One is Resistant to Help - Aging Wisely

It can be very difficult when we have concerns for an aging family member. Not only is it hard to know where to turn for help and what is best, but it is often hard to approach our family members with these concerns.and hard for them to accept that some changes may be in their best interests. A care manager can play a vital role in this process, both helping you to truly assess the needs and intervening to help find solutions that are acceptable.

We offer below some ideas to consider, based on our years of experience with families facing these struggles.

1. Understand the person’s fears. Common fears include loss of independence, losing control and dignity, and financial worries.

2. Discuss these issues before a crisis. Plan ahead and initiate conversations early. Encourage family members to execute legal documents relevant to estate planning and advance directives.

3. Consult a professional care manager, trusted friend or other professional (e.g. pastor, physician) trusted by your loved one.

4. Take advantage of opportunities in which your family member asks for or requires help (such as post-hospitalization, help with small tasks).

5. Explain all the options available and offer the person choices. For example, if you are concerned about a loved one living alone, you may need to explain to them your concerns, and talk about various options, letting them choose what type of help they are comfortable pursuing.

6. Approach the concerns from the individual’s perspective; find out what you can do for them, what things they feel would help.

7. Don’t fight the “small battles”. Concentrate on the main issues and prioritize.

8. Be firm about issues that affect your loved one’s safety and welfare. Outline your concerns clearly with specific examples.

9. Remember that, as adults, we all have the right to make some poor choices.

10. An objective, professional assessment can serve to convince and buffer you from being the source of change.

11. Engage professionals when necessary. Options that can be sought as a last resort when safety is affected include Adult Protective Services and the process of guardianship.

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Our goal is to enable every individual we work with to live the most fulfilling life possible, with utmost dignity, focusing on their physical, mental, spiritual, family and financial wellbeing.