Stranger In My House

by Lois Etienne on April 6, 2011

in Senior Health and Safety

A study of family caregivers who responded to a survey on, conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care® network, revealed that more than half of the respondents (51 percent) said that their aging relative was very resistant to care. 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.

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. Some seniors are so resistant we’ve even had them call the police when their family members have arranged for a caregiver to visit their home.

Spokane_WA_senior_womanSo, what can you do? Don’t assume anything, ask. Talk to your parents. If seniors admit they need help, they feel their independence is in question. So, be sure and reassure them that you have the same goals in mind, to keep them independent and safe. 

My best advice for families that are not in crisis is to try and get your loved one to allow a caregiver to come in once or twice a month. That helps them get introduced to having a little help so if or when the crisis comes, more comprehensive help is just a phone call away.

Educate yourself. Home Instead Senior Care is launching Caring for Your Parents: Education for the Family CaregiverSM.  This family caregiver support series addresses senior resistance to care and features a variety of topics such as choosing an in-home care provider, the signs of aging, long distance caregiving and communicating with aging parents.  Materials and videos are available at

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