Eldercare at Home: When Mom Refuses Help

Affordable Home Care, Assisted Home Care, Dementia Care, Elderly Home Assistance, Care for Older People, Taking Care of Elderly Parents, In-Home Senior Care ProvidersWhat do you do when an irrational elderly parent refuses help?

“Lilly” wasn’t a Right at Home client, but she actually was a Right at Home client.  And she was to get a Right at Home caregiver who wasn’t really a Right at Home caregiver.

And if you think that sounds confusing, try explaining it to her potential caregivers.

Lilly was an intelligent woman in her seventies who was working very hard to mask her dementia.  In fact, she refused to acknowledge her Alzheimer’s diagnosis, and any discussion of the topic was strictly off limits.

The problem was that, although she denied her memory loss, Lilly needed help.  Like many people in her shoes, Lilly was losing her ability to take care of herself or to live safely on her own.  In addition to needing someone to tidy up her apartment, she needed an at-home caregiver to prepare meals so she wouldn’t forget to eat.  She also needed reminders to take her medications.  Her family wanted to have time to select the perfect memory care facility, but until then, they wanted to use an assisted home care company to ensure that Lilly was safe and healthy.

Lilly’s rejection of her diagnosis, however, wasn’t the only problem.  Not only did Lilly live in denial, but she had also always been very frugal with money.  Since that didn’t change with her diagnosis, her family knew Lilly would refuse any help if it cost money.

The solution was that Lilly would not be receiving paid in-home help from Right at Home.  Our social worker arrived at her home under the guise of a volunteer coordinator from a nearby church.  Instead of having a structured intake, Lilly believed that our social worker was there to coordinate volunteer services.  Any caregivers who arrived were then identified by her family as volunteers.

Senior care is a funny business.  When you enter someone’s home, you need to be respectful of the life they live and be sure to provide care with dignity.  For Lilly, that meant never acknowledging her memory loss or her need for senior home care services.

Lilly’s situation is not unique.  It’s not uncommon for families who are taking care of elderly parents to get creative to ensure that their parents are having their needs met.  Sometimes, all it takes is a little bit of thinking outside the box to keep Mom safe.

Carol Hauser, M.A.

 

 

April 23, 2012

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