Strategies for fostering cooperation when caring for the elderly

seniors chatting

This article is contributed by Jason Phillips.

Huge improvements in medicine and surgical techniques have enabled many people to live much longer than was previously possible. However, living longer increases the chances of needing some assistance with everyday tasks; this can apply whether your aging relative is simply struggling to cope or has any number of ailments affecting their ability to look after themselves.

Providing care for a loved one and be a time consuming, emotionally draining task; but usually one that is ultimately very rewarding. Perhaps the biggest issue of providing care is deciding how to persuade someone to accept care when they are resistant to the idea.

Why Resist Care?

seniors in the sunAn older person who needs care will need to admit that they are no longer able to deal with everything themselves. This is a very difficult thing for anyone to do as it represents a loss in your own abilities; whether physical or mental. It will often mean that familiar routines will need to be changed and that an older person’s privacy will no longer be as sacred as it once was. This can be a frightening experience which can lead to feelings of anger at the loss of control, or guilt at the burden they are placing on others. Being resistant to the changes you are trying to implement is a way if displaying that they have not lost all control.

Dealing with this Resistance

There are several techniques which can work when faced with resistance from a loved one; in fact the exact approach which will work for you and your loved one will be unique to you. There are two stages to successfully dealing with resistance.


It is essential to open the channels of communication as soon as possible; this will make it easier to deal with any issues. Communication should revolve around these subjects:

  • The Help required. It is best to establish what help you think your loved one needs and what help they think they might need. This can be established by assessing their current situation and care plans, whist looking for areas where help will be appreciated; even if they do not realize it.
  • Pick your time. It is best to have a discussion with your loved one when you know you will both be relaxed and ready to talk; choose your opportunity based on when you think this is most likely to be.
  • Preference. It is essential to make sure your loved one feels in control of the process. Ask them about who they think will be best to provide certain services for them. Wherever possible you should adhere to their wishes, if not you must explain why it is not feasible and suggests a viable alternative.
  • Enlist support. Your family and even friends can help support you and make your loved one feel more relaxed about the changes that will happen. Use them! It is also important not to give up, if the conversation doesn’t go to plan simply look for another opportunity to start again.

seniors relaxingCommunication is only half the battle; you must also establish a strategy for dealing with any resistance. The following have been proven to be effective in dealing with resistant patients:

  • Trial runs – Rather than force a new process on them a trial run can give them and you the chance to assess a care treatment option and you can then adjust it to make sure it works for everyone involved.
  • Be Positive. Providing care can be seen as a positive thing; it provides additional contact with a loved one or an opportunity to make new friends. Making it seem like a new opportunity and an adventure will make it far easier for your loved one to accept it.
  • The War, not the Battle. You cannot win every time and if the issue is minor it may be best to let it go. Pick the right battles, the ones that are important must be resolved, leaving the others the way your loved one wants them will help them to feel like they still have some control.
  • Independence. Care can actually ensure your loved one retains their independence for longer. Explain this to your loved one and they may actually welcome the change!

If you have tried everything and cannot convince your loved one to accept care then you may need to enlist the help of a professional. Older people will often listen to a doctor they have known for a long time.

Author Bio: Jason Phillips is interested in writing about health and fitness related issues. He has a deep knowledge in this field. Also he writes for a site providing care homes and retirement villages.

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