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Family Caregiving Advice: Turning Resistance Into Assistance

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Nearly three-fourths (74 percent) of family caregivers have been employed while they were assisting another person, according to a 2009 report from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. Most (68 percent) have had to make a workplace accommodation due to caregiving. The most common workplace accommodations are going in late, leaving early or taking time off during the day.

Seniors often don’t realize that getting a little help now, when they’re getting a little older, can help them remain living independently for a lot longer than if they try to do everything on their own.

Following are strategies from family caregiving consultant Dr. Amy D’Aprix to help family caregivers turn resistance into assistance.

Understand where the resistance is coming from. Ask your parent why he or she is resisting. “Mom, I notice that every time I bring up the idea of someone coming in to help, you resist it. Why is that?” Oftentimes older adults don’t realize they are being resistant.

Explain your goals. Remind your loved one that you both want the same thing. Explain that a little extra help can keep her at home longer and will help put your mind at ease as well. Have a candid conversation with him about the impact this care is having on your life. Oftentimes seniors don’t understand the time commitment of a caregiver.

Bring in outside help. If a relationship with a parent is deteriorating, ask a professional, such as a geriatric care manager, for an assessment. A third-party professional can provide valuable input. Also, go to for tips on how to talk with a loved one. If you are having problems getting through to your older adult, consider asking another family member or close friend to intervene. If you’re not making headway, perhaps there’s someone better to talk with your parents.

Research your options to find the best resources for your loved one. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging or a geriatric care manager to research resources in your community. Or download a guide for family caregivers to help them find the best in-home care for their loved ones. If you decide outside help is needed, reassure your parents and tell them you have researched caregivers and you are confident you have found the best one you can find to come into the home to help.

Respect your parent’s decisions. Sometimes you won’t agree with your parent’s decisions and that’s O.K. As long as your loved one is of sound mind, he or she should have the final say.

If your senior has dementia, seek professional assistance from a doctor or geriatric care manager. Logic often will not work and other strategies must be employed

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Family Caregiving Advice: Turning Resistance Into Assistance


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