You may be surprised to learn that caregivers risk dying young. In fact, they may die earlier than the person they are caring for. Being a family caregiver is stressful, especially if the person they are taking care of is suffering from ailments like dementia or other chronic diseases. One of the major problems caregivers have is that they must be on duty round the clock. At the end of the day, they are stressed far more than the person they are providing care for. Stress, undoubtedly, is one of the major causes of serious diseases like stroke and heart attack. Research shows that family caregivers risk dying five to eight years younger. That is why it is ideal to offer to assist family caregivers if we feel they are being overwhelmed by their jobs. Unfortunately, most of them will reject such assistance.
If you know a family caregiver and you can see that the person needs help, if you are in a position to assist don’t hesitate to do so. Even if the caregiver refuses your assistance, this article will let you understand the reason. We will also discuss how you can help a family caregiver who has refused your assistance.
Why Do Family Caregivers Refuse Help and What Can You Do to Help?
- They May See You as a Stranger
No one wants a stranger in his home. The family caregiver as well as the patient may see you as a stranger, hence have their doubt about you. Many people have learned from different stories of health assistants that harmed their patients, stole from them, and even abused them. So, no one wants to be a victim of criminals pretending to help. So, if they feel this way, you should also understand their concern. However, you can offer to assist only when the caregiver is around and only under the supervision of the caregiver. With that, you can build trust. By the time they no longer see you as a stranger, then you can offer more assistance or relief to the primary caregivers during some hours of the day.
- They May Doubt Your Competence
Many family caregivers believe the persons they are providing care for are in critical situations and hence need professional assistance. They may not see you as having that skill. So they may consider leaving their patients with you as a risk. They will think what if something serious happens to the patient, then they would be blamed for it. To convince a family caregiver in a situation like this you don’t have to argue or boast of your competence. Of course, you can narrate your experience, training, and skills. But don’t use that as your major point because it is not likely that will convince anyone. Rather offer to learn from the caregiver. You can propose coming around when critical actions are being done so that you can also learn how to do it. It is more likely that the family caregiver will be more confident to train you than to trust in your previous training.
- They May think You Will Invade Their Privacy
Having a new guest at home may mean so many things. Some people love it while others may feel it will compromise their privacy. Some might even see it as being burdensome. Treating you as a guest may be a challenge for both the patient and the caregiver. They may feel the need to entertain you, talk to you, and make you feel welcomed. However, you may let them understand that there is no need for treating you as such. In fact, the caregiver should take the advantage of your presence to take a break from tedious work and relax. Add the chore of welcoming you should be eliminated. If the patient really enjoys talking to guests or playing games with them, then you should go ahead, but if not, let everyone realize that it is not necessary.
- Caregivers May Feel it is Their Responsibilities to Offer Care to Their Loved Ones
Many caregivers feel it is their responsibility to take care of their family members who need assistance. Giving such duties to you may make them feel guilty. Some children or spouses of a patient find it difficult to allow other people to take care of their loved ones. You should understand that but try to let the caregiver also know what the patient stands to benefit from your assistance. In this case, don’t base your point on helping the caregiver, rather on helping to ensure the patient gets more assistance. Still, you should let the caregiver understand that your role will do nothing to diminish the caregiver’s role. The patient should also understand that you are not taking up the roles of the caregiver in their family’s matter. Do not do anything to suggest that either.
- Individual Character
Some people don’t just like accepting help. They feel they can do all things themselves. The caregiver may be such a kind person. If the caretaker has been doing everything perfectly alone before, accepting help from you may be interpreted as weakness or failure. You can’t change people, but you can convince them. Let the caregiver understand that you are doing it for the patient. Explain that it doesn’t take anything away from the joy or pride that the caregiver derived from the service. Also, explain that your beneficial service to the patient is also a pride to the caregiver.
- They May Not Have the Financial Capacity to Hire Extra Assistant
Some caregiver really wants an extra hand, but might not have the financial capacity to do so. Luckily some medical care provisions are covered by Medicare and other medical policies. So, find out if they really need an assistant but cannot afford to hire one. If they do, then you can help to explore all possible options. They may be surprised that they can get the help they need at a cost they can afford. Alternatively, you may render your services free of charge and let them understand that. You can also render assistance to a family caregiver by offering to pay for some extra assistance needed.
There are many reasons a family caregiver may reject help. Some of these reasons are truly genuine. However, it is important to convince the caregiver and explain the benefits of getting extra hands. Your explanation and argument will depend on the reason for rejecting the help in the first place. It is certain if you can carefully convince both the caregiver and the patient that you mean well for all, they will accept your offer.
With Gratitude and Love