How to deal with resistance to in-home care?

Rose mary s asked...

Our friend has early onset Alzheimer's Disease. She has set up for a "team" of friends to be power of attorney, handle her finances,etc. We feel at this point that she needs to have someone come daily for 5 hrs. to keep her involved and active (she lives alone) and to make sure she eats one good meal a day. Several months ago, we hired someone to come 4 days a wk.for 3 hrs. (someone familiar to our friend). She seems to enjoy having this companion,but resisted more than 2 days a wk. Our friend was gone to visit family for a month and the feedback that was given is that she needs someone daily mid-afternoon-evening. However, our friend is resisting this and says she does not need it. Her physician feels we are being overly optimistic with this plan and feels she should be in assisted living. Our friend does not like the physician because she is the one who told her that she could no longer drive and blames her.

How do we deal with her resistance to help? The current caregiver is very good at setting up activities that she enjoys and responding to specific requests.

Expert Answer

Brenda Avadian, brings knowledge, hope, and joy to family caregivers for loved ones with Alzheimer's and dementia. She cared for her father with Alzheimer's and helps families one-on-one and in groups. She is the author of eight books, including the pioneering memoir "Where's my shoes?" My Father's Walk through Alzheimer's and the Finding the JOY in Alzheimer's series. She presents vivid, compelling, and funny keynotes to both professional and family caregiving audiences.

Rose Mary, what a wonderful situation your friend has set up--a team of friends to help her despite her resistance to in-home care.

From what you describe, I agree that she needs someone to keep her company. However, you also need to balance this with her need for independence and privacy.

Although we all enjoy company, we all like periods of time alone when we can do what we want in our own home. Your friend is no different than you or me.

Since the current caregiver is good at engaging her in activities and helping her then see about extending this person's hours and days.

Start by adding an hour a day each week or two then have the caregiver "drop in one day for a friendly visit while in the neighborhood."

Slowly expand on the hours and days until you hit your daily target of 5 hours.

Sudden changes are hard, but with gradual incremental increases you'll get closer to SUCCESS.