If you have made the decision to seek respite care for a loved one, you may feel a sense of relief. Your loved one, however, may not share these same feelings. Resistance to respite care is quite common, especially when you’re dealing with an elder who may be in denial about their abilities. Overcoming resistance won’t be accomplished overnight, but there are steps you can take to minimize the struggle.
The most crucial step is to involve your loved one in the respite care plan. This allows them to feel like a part of the process; an equal in their care, so to speak. Sometimes, it can even help to be clear and direct with your loved one. For instance, if you are struggling to do everything on your own and need help, telling your parent may make them more open to receiving care.
Another smart approach is to give the respite care plan a trial run. Offer to go through the process for a specific amount of time, say two months. Then your loved one can decide if they want to continue. When they see that everything is running smoother, the decision to continue with respite care will be made easier.
Of course, there are many instances where the resistance continues. In this case, you may benefit from discussing respite care with a professional, such as a doctor or lawyer. It’s not uncommon for elders to ignore the requests of their children but be more open to others’ opinions. You can also facilitate some interest in respite care by providing your loved one with reading materials, brochures and newsletters. Once again, if you’re dealing with stubbornness, it may take someone other than you to get the point across.
If you find that your loved one is still opposed to respite care, you may have no choice but to back off. It’s not uncommon for family members to accept the current situation, only to find that a “trigger event” occurs. These events, such as falling down the stairs or forgetting to turn off the stove, can have dire consequences, and they will prove to your loved one that additional care is needed to keep them safe.