Convincing someone with dementia to go to higher level of care
Jul 26, 2020
Welcome back, Careblazer.
Last week I talked about things to look for when trying to decide on a higher level of care for your loved one with dementia.
Today, I want to talk about some options for how you can talk to your LOWD about moving to a higher level of care. This is understandably a very sensitive topic that not a lot of older adults look forward to. Your LOWD is probably going to have some anxiety, hesitation and even resistance to the idea of living somewhere like a memory care facility.
If you would rather watch my video on this topic, click here.
I’m going to specifically share with you how Careblazers inside my FB community handled this situation because sometimes the most helpful information comes directly from a Careblazer whose been in your shoes.
If you haven’t joined the FB online community, It’s a place to give support, receive support and share tips with other Careblazers. The link to join is here.
Before I get started - I’m hosting a free online class on how you can use the Careblazer MAP to lower your stress and start to feel better as a dementia Careblazer. I can’t wait to share this with you. The class is a little over a week away but, it’s not too late! Save your spot here.
I am going to share some of the specific ways these Careblazers got their LOWD to go to a care facility. However, I want to point out that everyone is different. Every situation is different. The approach you use might look different than some of these approaches. That is okay! If there is anything that is true in dementia care, it's that what feels right to you and works best for you might not be what works for someone else. That is absolutely okay!
What I hope these responses can do for you is give you some ideas for what ways you think might work best given your specific situation.
Let’s see what these amazing Careblazers had to say...
- Multiple Careblazers made the very good point that you likely won’t be able to convince your LOWD to move to a higher level of care. Some of them tried to convince their LOWD’s about why they needed the care and did not have success. Understandably, this is a big change that is scary and some of your LO’s may insist they are totally fine. The idea they need to go somewhere for help just doesn’t make sense to them.
- Prepare yourself for the idea that your LOWD needs a higher level of care. Even if you talk with them about the move, you may not be on the same page and that doesn’t mean you can’t move forward. It doesn’t mean you need to change your plans. It’s just that their brain doesn’t see it the same way as you and you have to do what keeps them safe while considering your own health, family, career and sanity in the process. No judgment here, Careblazer.
- You can have a loving and open conversation with your LOWD about their need for more care. About how they would get better care, more attention and more activity in the new place.
- Acknowledge that it’s okay they feel scared because it’s something new and different. Don’t try to talk them out of their feelings.
- If you are comfortable with it, let them know that you can’t continue to give them all the care they need. Let them know that your health, job demands and family demands make it so you can’t dedicate the time to them that you wish you could.
- Join them in exploring their feelings of hesitancy. You can even share your difficult emotions around the topic, letting them know you wish things were different and this didn’t have to happen. That is totally okay.
Again, be careful you aren’t trying to convince them this is something great and that they would love. Let them share their feelings and try to avoid the argument.
- To help your LOWD ease into the new change in the environment, many Careblazers mentioned taking their LOWD to the facility for several lunches or dinners before moving them in. This allowed them to get to know the place a little with a family member there with them before making the big move.
- Some Careblazers took their loved one to the facility for an appointment with their new doctor or primary health care provider. If you're thinking of moving your LOWD to a facility that offers in house medical care, this is something that you can consider too.
- The majority of Careblazers used a compassionate lie - or something one Careblazer called "a compassionate truth" and another one called it "creative thinking". Meaning that they told the truth, but they didn’t inform their loved one of the whole truth in an attempt to avoid pain and conflict.
- For example: phrasing the move as a “trial period” or “respite stay”. Meaning that there is actually an option for that person to return back home if it doesn’t work out, but these Careblazers didn’t really want to do that. Other reasons Careblazers used to get their LOWD to move included saying:
- They were going out of town so the LOWD had to go somewhere to get care while they were gone
- Trial period to see if he/she likes the place. A week or two.
- They were a participant in a research study to give an honest opinion about the home.
- Tell her she is going to volunteer. Make sure you get the group home staff involved and encourage her to go to scheduled craft time or whatever other scheduled activity they may have.
- Telling your LOWD they have to stay there while their home is being repaired: big leak, termites or any other major home project.
- Many Careblazers opted to not be the “bad” guy by getting the healthcare team involved. They had the doctor, social worker, psychologist or another team member talk about why it was recommended or required for them to move to a higher level of care.
- One Careblazer mentioned that her father would never listen to her in terms of moving, but was more open when the healthcare provider was the one who insisted it needed to happen.
Careblazer, I wish there was an easy way around this. I wish you could let your LOWD know that you want the best for them and even though it’s hard having them move somewhere with more care is the best way. I wish your LOWD could accept that, understand that and agree to that.
But, as I’m sure you’re already aware, things don’t usually go that smoothly. You sometimes have to do what’s best for your LOWD even when they don’t see it that way.
I hope some of these ideas from other Careblazers are helpful to you. If you have an idea that worked well for you, leave it below in a comment for another Careblazer to learn from.
As always, I’ll be back next week Careblazer. Until then, keep up the great work and I hope to see many of you for my free live online class. Be sure to join us by signing up here.