Community Blog

7 Ways to Overcome Objections When Seniors Need Help

By Debbie Humphrey

I recently learned about a woman who is 96 years-old and stubborn as a mule! Her niece [by marriage], became her healthcare surrogate, because there was really no one else to step-up. The niece and the rest of the woman’s family reside in New England, and all but the niece-in-law, have become alienated from their distant relative.

In her sixties, she and her husband had chosen to be more than snowbirds. They packed-up and hit the road to Florida. She and her husband enjoyed a wonderful retirement, but when he passed several years ago, the woman found herself alone. She adopted a dog, who has become her only fur-family and constant companion she can’t live without. Aside from her neighbors, this elderly woman has no one.

At 96, her physical health has declined, but she is still ambulatory, with only minor, age-related memory issues noted. The problem is, she consistently relies on her neighbors to help her out of bed each morning and get ready for the day.

True. Getting out of bed can be problematic as we age, and especially when you’re 96 years-old with complications from spinal stenosis. The very act of rising from bed can be downright impossible, if not excruciating. In as much as the elderly woman insists she does not need help, she is, in fact, a senior who needs help, in spite of her objections.

According to her niece, the woman has been #bosslady since obtaining her chemistry degree in the late 1930’s, nearly a century before #hashtags became a thing. However, with her age and physical condition, she has grown accustomed to phoning her neighbors to help her each day, even though she insists she’s fine and doesn’t need help. Herein lies the challenge: the neighbor who most consistently helps is leaving town for a month, and she’s concerned about her senior friend.

That being said, it seems very important to share with you what I shared with her: Seven ways to overcome objections by seniors to in-home care:

  1. Allow for a consultation and assessment so the right caregiver can be chosen to assist the senior in need.
  2. Find the perfect caregiver who is capable of building a rapport with the client.
  3. Always be cognizant of the age and tolerance of the senior when it comes to hair color, tattoos and piercings. These can seem threatening    and/or disrespectful to the aging.
  4. Introduce the caregiver to the senior so “stranger-danger” does not apply.
  5. Have a family member, friend or neighbor express concern about their care. suggests to say something like this, “I know you are very independent and don’t feel you need extra care at home, but I worry a lot about you and this would help me not to worry so much when I’m not able to be here.”
  6. Present the opportunity as a “trial-run” with a perfectly matched caregiver that comes in to help with household tasks, provide companionship, and personal assistance for a couple of days each week for three hours each day, and see what happens.
  7. When an elderly person feels exceptionally vulnerable, they will resist any change or transition. Be sympathetic to their condition and their feelings, and have a conversation where you listen more and dictate less.

Even though the elderly woman I’ve characterized hates the idea of giving up any level of control in her life, she lives a confined lifestyle with only the companionship of her dog, phone calls from her niece-in-law in New England, and regular help from the neighbors she summons. Depression is a concern. Her quality of life is a concern. Her safety is a concern. She does need help.

If you are have a senior neighbor, friend or family member in need of assistance, we welcome the opportunity to meet them. Home Helpers® caregivers provide non-medical assistance, including light housework, errands, meal preparation, transportation assistance, companionship and so much more!

Home Helpers® is honored to have received the Provider of Choice 2017 & 2018 awards from Home Care Pulse, and we proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠ Contact us for further information at 727.942.2539