This is a real problem for family caregivers worried about the safety of a senior loved one who might be forgetting food on the stove or neglecting to take their medications
Phoenix, AZ (PRWEB) August 24, 2010
The Home Instead Senior Care office serving the greater Phoenix area has launched a new program designed to help area families cope with the responsibilities of caring for aging loved ones.
Caring for Your Parents: Education for the Family Caregiver is a unique educational program that includes a number of resources that address a variety of other topics such as choosing an in-home care provider, the signs of aging, long distance caregiving and communicating with aging parents. The free materials and videos are available at http://www.caregiverstress.com.
An estimated 400,000 households are caring for a senior in the greater Phoenix area - and many of those families are trying to help aging relatives who would rather not have their assistance.
A study of family caregivers who responded to a survey on caregiverstress.com revealed that more than half of the respondents (51 percent) said that their aging relative was very resistant to care. These seniors often object to help whether it's from their own children or a professional who tries to come into their homes to assist.
"This is a real problem for family caregivers worried about the safety of a senior loved one who might be forgetting food on the stove or neglecting to take their medications," said Debbie Seplow, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care® office serving the greater Phoenix area.
But experts say that keeping fiercely independent seniors safe at home isn't a lost cause; there are solutions for them and their family caregivers. That's why the Home Instead Senior Care network developed Caring for Your Parents: Education for the Family Caregiver.
"If seniors admit they need help, they feel their independence is in question," said Seplow. "Seniors believe that once they acknowledge they need help, they'll lose control of their affairs. They are trying to maintain dignity. Unless they feel they can trust someone, they resist change. I believe it's the fear that life as they've known it will be taken away from them."
Sometimes seniors only want help from a son or daughter, which can put undue pressure on that family caregiver who feels he or she can't call for professional help. Most caregivers can go into "crisis mode" to rally around a loved one in the short-term, "but you can't be totally immersed in a crisis mode long-term without your own family, work and health suffering," according to family caregiving consultant Dr. Amy D'Aprix, who holds a Ph.D. and master's degree in social work and is author of From Surviving to Thriving: Transforming Your Caregiving Experience.
The strain can take a particular toll on working family caregivers. The Home Instead Senior Care study revealed that 42 percent of caregivers spend more than 30 hours a week caregiving. That's the equivalent of a second full-time job.
And that's what makes countering that resistance to assistance so important. "Many times family caregivers make assumptions but never ask: 'Mom, I've noticed that every time I bring up having someone come in to assist, you don't want help. Why is that?' Sometimes the parent doesn't realize they're being resistant," D'Aprix added.
"Also, reassuring a senior loved one that you have the same goal in mind will help," D'Aprix said. "Start with: 'My goal for you is to be independent, too. You know I can't be here all the time. A little extra assistance will help you stay at home.'"
Seplow said the battle to turn resistance into assistance can be fierce, like seniors who call police when a professional caregiver shows up. "Education can help arm family caregivers with the tools they need to create a win-win for everyone."
About Home Instead Senior Care
Founded in 1994 in Omaha, the Home Instead Senior Care® network is the world's largest provider of non-medical in-home care services for seniors, with more than 875 independently owned and operated franchises in 14 countries and 15 markets, spanning four continents. Home Instead Senior Care local offices employ 65,000+ CAREGiversSM who provide more than 40 million hours of client service each year through activities including companionship, meal preparation, medication reminders, light housekeeping, errands and shopping. Home Instead Senior Care founders Paul and Lori Hogan pioneered franchising in the non-medical senior care industry and are leading advocates for senior issues in America. At Home Instead Senior Care, it's relationship before task, while continuing to provide superior quality service that enhances the lives of seniors everywhere.