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How to Get an Alzheimer's Parent to Accept Care

Dear Debbie
My grandmother has been diagnosed with Alzheimers and the doctor told her that she needs more full time care because she doesn't take her meds and doesn't eat right. She is being very hard headed about the whole situation and She thinks that she is perfectly capable of taking care of her self and we all know that she is not. How can we get her to go live with someone so that she has the care she needs, but doesn't feel like she was forced to do something she didn't want to do?

Concerned Granddaughter
Dear Concerned Granddaughter
I personally know how difficult it is for you to deal with your grandmother’s refusal to accept full-time care. It happens to be typical behavior. Try to find the point of least resistance and soften even that - you might have to lie!

Both my mother and mother-in-law behaved in the same fashion. It really helped to fictionalize the truth and tell my mother that the caregiver was absolutely free – a gift from the state! Also, I persisted in trying out different caregivers; a few were fired by feisty mother or they simply quit and ran out the door. However, a couple of weeks later the right one came along and my mother adjusted. Deep down, she felt that she needed help. My mother-in-law also resisted a caregiver, but now has accepted it. We just insisted and approached a geriatric social worker who supervised hiring the caregiver since we live in a different state. Periodically the social worker checks up on my mother-in-law and evaluates the caregiver. Deep down, my mother-in-law felt that she needed help and adjusted happily.

You have to be firm and loving. There is no choice in the matter because her health, even her life is at stake. She might balk, insult you, calling you “cold and unfeeling,” “cruel,” etc. Steel your heart and do it anyway. She will adjust and be just as loving as before. Try to make “commercials” about caregivers when you speak to her. Put your arms around her, show her photos, play music, whatever positive mood you create, but do it soon. A kind caregiver (who you like) will make your grandmother healthier, feel more secure and ultimately more alert. What are you waiting for?
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, and a personal trainer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB 1240AM in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com





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