How to Get Your Elder to Accept Help

Part of the Eldercare For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Getting an elderly person to accept that they need help when the abilities they've relied on throughout a long life are diminishing can be difficult for you and the elder you're caring for. The tips in the following list provide guidelines for easing your elder into acceptance of a new role:

  • Approach gently and be understanding, but express your concerns firmly.

  • Don't tell your elder there's a problem; ask whether he thinks there may be a problem.

  • Before suggesting outside help, familiarize yourself with community services.

  • Offer help, but don't take over.

  • Back off when you meet resistance and try again another day.

  • Have a respected doctor, clergy, trusted friend, or relative suggest help.

  • Explain how assistance increases independence.

  • Never introduce a professional caregiver as someone who "will take care of you."

  • Ask your elder's opinion about how best to handle the situation.

  • Make sure that your elder is well rested and well fed before presenting plans for help.

  • When your elder's perceptions of his or abilities don't match your perceptions, resist the urge to contradict.

  • Offer assistance in an off-handed, humorous, and casual manner.

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