One thing that people often accuse me of being is stubborn. I try not to be hard headed, but it’s just always been a character trait of my family. My father was the same way and I think it rubbed off on my mother through the years. My mother was a strong woman, but recently her health has been declining, and I’ve noticed some things that have caused me to be concerned for her safety at home.
Any time that I begin to talk about the prospect of elderly care, she shuts me off with a ‘shush’ and walks away. I watch her shuffle out of the room and down the hall, to the living room or her bedroom, and I refuse to follow. I don’t know whether she is trying to bait me into following her and reassure her that she’s okay and that she’s strong (that’s happened before), but it becomes frustrating to try and discuss something as serious as elderly care with someone who flat out refuses to talk about it.
One thing that I’ve known for a long time about this, is that if you believe that your loved one, in this case my mother, is at risk, then at some point you are going to have to seriously consider an elder care provider or assisted living, or some other arrangement. I also know that while she is still strong minded and strong willed, it’s ultimately up to her.
Which presents the quagmire for people in my position. How do you talk to or deal with a loved one who refuses to even talk about elderly care?
One of the things I realized was that whenever my mother called me because she needed help with something, I was right there within a short amount of time. I have my own business, so leaving for an hour or two is no big deal. I was at her beck and call and I realized that she didn’t need to talk about elderly care because I was already providing it.
That’s when I began to scale back my ambitiousness, for lack of a better word. It wasn’t easy because I worried about her, but I also knew she wouldn’t get into too much trouble. When she began to complain about the things that she couldn’t do on her own, that provided the opportunity to open up a dialogue. I didn’t mention elderly care right away, but rather I talked about help in a general sense. She warmed to the idea in time and now she has a great caregiver coming to her house, and I don’t think she could have been happier.
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