Resistance to Professional Caregivers

  • Families who reach the decision to hire a professional caregiver, such as a home health aide, to provide care for a loved one who has Alzheimer's disease and lives alone are often faced with a challenge: their loved one is unwilling to allow the caregiver to come into their home.


    It is important to understand what it is underlying this resistance. Part of it may be attributed to the person's fear of loss of independence and responsibility, of losing control of their daily activities and skills, and the general feeling of loss of importance and usefulness. Feeling depressed about not having anything to look forward to in the future can add to this scenario. In addition, when a loved one refuses to see others, it may be that he or she is becoming frustrated because of difficulty in making sense out of who the person is and why the caregiver is there. In particular, the presence of a healthcare worker accentuates the fact that he or she is giving up responsibilities to someone else.

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    It may be helpful to have someone at the house over a period of time to greet the caregiver and smooth the connection between the newcomer and your loved one. It also may help to speak to the person's physician to express your concerns and ask for help. The doctor will not legally be allowed to give you information about someone else's health without direct consent from the patient. The important part is to express your concerns and share your observations. The doctor may be willing to give you some general advice and assistance.


    In addition, if there is other family, such as your children, other siblings or your aunts or uncles, they can also try to help. Sometimes a larger group can make an impact in these situations because everyone is expressing sincere concern, love and support at the same time. Conversations should still be attempted in very small groups, or even one-on-one, and in very private settings.


    In the worst case scenario, your loved one will continue to refuse your help and suggestions over time. You have to know that you have tried as best as you could. If assistance continues to be refused and you feel it is an unsafe situation for your loved one to be alone, you might want to consider other options-such as having him or her move in with a relative or into a long-term care safety. Safety is of utmost concern.




Published On: February 15, 2008