NAPGCM Survey: Aging Parents Often Resist Help From Kids; Obstacles ID'd

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Aging parents often resist or refuse needed help from their adult children, says a survey of aging experts issued today. Resistance to getting needed medical care is the easiest to overcome, while decisions about whether to continue driving and getting needed home care are the most common trouble spots.

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New Survey Finds Aging Parents Often Resist Help

“Resistance to help is a common problem that can cause great stress in families. The survey shows there are areas that are easier to overcome than others,” said Emily Saltz, President of NAPGCM.

Aging parents often resist or refuse needed help from their adult children, finds a survey of elder care experts issued today by the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM). Resistance to getting needed medical care is the easiest for children to overcome, while decisions about whether to continue driving and getting needed home care and help with household chores are the most common trouble spots.

The significance of these findings is highlighted by new research findings that nearly half of all Americans older than 65 need some assistance with routine daily activities and about 11 million of those 18 million get some help – mostly from family and friends. Nearly 1 of every 6 seniors reported one or more “adverse consequence” such as inability to go places and medication errors, related to an unmet need.

“Resistance to help is a common problem that can cause great stress in families. The survey shows there are areas that are easier to overcome than others,” said Emily Saltz, President of NAPGCM.

Highlights of the survey of 335 geriatric care managers polled from November 7-11, 2014 include:

  •     80% surveyed report regularly encountering cases where seniors are resisting needed help/ declining assistance from their children or loved ones.
  •     The 3 types of help care managers most often find seniors resisting or declining are: decisions about whether to continue driving (cited by 67% of those surveyed), getting needed home health care (62%) and assistance with household chores like cooking, shopping and cleaning (60%). Others cited the difficult issue of moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility.
  •     The 2 types of help care managers find most challenging to overcome resistance to are help making a decision about whether to continue driving (cited by 73% of those surveyed) and getting help managing their finances (60%).
  •     On the flip side, 73% of care managers said it is easiest to overcome an aging parent’s resistance to getting needed medical care. 65% cited help with household chores. Just 8% said that resistance to help with driving decisions was easiest to overcome.

Geriatric Care Managers responding to the NAPGCM poll shared over 150 cases of resistance to help encountered in their practices. Typical of the stories:

“A gentleman whose family removed car keys and his car from him as they weren't "making headway" in talking with him re: discontinuing driving due to accidents in and outside of his home - driving and otherwise. As they weren't getting anywhere with him in discussion, they simply removed the risk from his access - or thought they did. Sadly, several weeks later, he stole a car in his community and got into an accident after driving the car less than 1,000 feet.”

About NAPGCM
The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) was formed in 1985 to advance dignified care for older adults and their families. Geriatric Care Managers are professionals who have extensive training and experience working with older people, people with disabilities and families who need assistance with caregiving issues. They assist older adults who wish to remain in their homes, or can help families in the search for a suitable nursing home placement or extended care if the need occurs.

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