That was how my aunt greeted me when I answered the phone this morning. (I used to get a lot of these calls in my home healthcare days also). My granny is 92 years old, still lives by herself, only quit driving in the last year, and her mind works pretty darn good. My aunt makes the same mistake a lot of caregivers make, trying to impose their will on their parent. It does not usually work.
Most people will tell you that they could not boss their parents around when they were kids, it did not work when they were teenagers and yet they think it will work now. As my daddy once told me after I yelled at him that he treated me like a kid, “You will always be my little girl.” You never really grow up in your parent’s eyes no matter how old you are.
Just because someone is older and needing assistance does not mean that they are not able to make decisions for themselves. It can be very frustrating when you feel they need help and they refuse. The tendency is to treat them as if they were the child and tell them what to do, especially if you are a parent. So what do you do?
You get someone else they will listen to, to talk to them. You are probably frustrated and your parent is probably at best annoyed with you. My grandma on the other side of my family would not listen to any of her children or grandchildren. But her home healthcare nurse? Anything she said was law!
Offer them choices. “Do you want me to call the doctor and see what he thinks you should do?” Let your parent make the decisions they can make. Explain what needs to be done and why. Sometimes you may just have to let it rest for a while and let it be their idea.
If it is a truly serious situation and they are still refusing help, call 911 and request an ambulance. They come in wearing their uniforms and stretcher and equipment looking all professional and it really can make a difference. You might consider asking your parent, “How about I call the paramedics? They can check you out and see what they think.” This will usually get their attention.
The best thing to do is treat your parents with respect and dignity. Allow them as much independence as possible. Do not fuss and nag them. And remember, you children are watching you. Chances are, they will treat you the same way you treat your parents.
I realize there are those people out there who are going to refuse no matter what you do. In that case, you have to remember that they have the same right to refuse care just like you do.
What became of Granny? I called the doctor’s office knowing it was Monday and he would have a packed office but they told me to bring here in, he could get to her faster. He gave her a couple of shots, sent her for tests and sent her home.
Use your resources.