Helping Parents That Are Resistant to Home Care
We work with many families who are struggling to get their Mom or Dad to accept in-home caregivers on a regular basis. These families typically fall into one of three categories;
Category #1—The patient doesn’t NEED or WANT the care and it will never work out no matter what tactics are employed by the family or home care agency. If someone doesn’t truly NEED home care and is not looking for companion care, it usually does not work out.
Category #2–The patient is resistant to home care but NEEDS the care AND the family is strong in their commitment to keeping their parents safe at home.
Category #3—The patient needs home care AND the family lets their parents dictate all aspects of the care. Patient is resistant to care.
The First Group, I am not going to discuss at length because they are self-explanatory. If a patient does not need OR want the care, it is unlikely that home care is a good fit at this juncture. We offer free in-home assessments to determine if a patient is a good fit for home care.
The Second Group represents a category of people that usually have a successful home care experience. Many patients who NEED home care are resistant to the care in the beginning, if not for the entire duration of care. This is not an uncommon scenario, especially among patients who have all their mental capacities but struggle with ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living). From our experience, patients that need care but are resistant to care have successful outcomes when the family support system insists that home care be in place. Period. We are a small agency but we cannot count how many people we have worked with over the years that have allowed their parents to refuse some kind of help at home, only to have a fall and pass away from some complication related to their fall. Falls do not affect young people the same way they do the elderly and it is important to mitigate the risks. Read my article on Fall Risks and the Elderly, where I give real life examples and solutions for patients who are at a risk of falling.
The Third Group represents the most challenging for us as an agency. Patients with advanced Alzheimer’s or signs of dementia should NEVER be allowed to make the decision about having home care. They do not have the mental capacity to understand the risks they are taking. If a patient does not have Alzheimer’s or dementia and needs home care but is reluctant to allow a caregiver in their house, the best-case scenario is usually to proceed with short 2-4 hour visits until they have recovered. Some of these patients will allow visits on a temporary basis but will cancel services the second they feel they have an opportunity (i.e. “I didn’t like the way my caregiver curled my hair”, or “the food was too hot”). Occasionally these patients will bond with their caregiver and continue services on a long-term basis, although this rare.
There is a silver lining about Alzheimer’s and dementia patients that need home care supervision. In many cases Alzheimer’s and dementia patients are unware of what is going on from one day to the next and are relatively easy to appease even if they seem resistant in the beginning. Most Alzheimer’s patients are able to stay at home until the end of their life, however, we have worked with patients who, due to their disease and personality types, home care was just not a feasible and safe option for the patient. In cases where home care was not a long-term solution, we were able to post-pone nursing home care for at least a few months while the disease progressed.
The moral of the story is; Successful home care outcomes are almost always possible with a strong family support system that is committed to keeping their loved one safe at home. Please call Brooke or Jo today for a free consultation and see if home care is the right fit for your loved one.