Family Caregivers Resist Asking for Help - Care Recipients Usually Don't Want the Help - No Plan Means a Family Crisis

Older people tend to be stubborn but guess what? Most of us at all ages are often stubborn as well. Older adults avoid asking for help "aging in place." Family caregivers avoid asking for help as well. Being open to help will benefit everyone. Being open to planning will help avoid the crisis in the first place.

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Family Caregivers Resist Asking for Help - Care Recipients Usually Don't Want the Help - No Plan Means a Family Crisis
3 Min Read May 12th, 2022 Updated:December 9th, 2022

You will be no different when you get older. Your aging parents don't want to need long-term health care, and they will not want to be a burden to their families. Another truth is they don't want to ask for help either.

Due to their parents' reluctance to accept help or care at home, adult children often find themselves in a situation where they have the added responsibility of ensuring their needs are met, even if they resist this help. 

Geriatrician Lee A. Lindquist, MD, MPH, MBA, says some older adults think if they accept help, they may have to leave their homes.

Many seniors think that by accepting help, it'll cause them to leave their home to go into a care setting. Therefore, they think if they don't accept help, they'll stay in their home longer. It's actually the reverse. It's about enabling them to stay in their homes longer by accepting help.

Dr. Lindquist acknowledges that receiving help carries a lot of stigmas. However, this knowledge can be used to establish meaningful conversations with those close to you.

Ultimately, it's about helping seniors age in place, which is what's best for most seniors, and trying to find a win-win situation for everyone. 

Can Older Adults Remain at Home?

Pamela D. Wilson, MS, BS/BA, NCG, CSA, a National Certified Guardian, and Certified Senior Advisor, says that older adults want to age in place in their homes; the question is, can they?

Aging adults talk about how staying at home during retirement years is a dream; however, few know what it really takes to make this happen.

Wilson says that family caregivers don't have the answers either. These family caregivers struggle as their parent's needs increase, and they cannot provide the proper care they require.

Caregivers Face Stress and Burnout

Wilson says they lose balance in their daily lives and experience greater stress and burnout. These often untrained and unprepared caregivers feel overwhelmed by their duties as a caregiver, and they don't want to ask for help.

Caregiving is a family matter since few people ever discuss or plan about their aging and the consequence declining health can have on them and their families. The lack of planning creates a family crisis.

If your parents didn't plan, what can you do? Will your parents listen to your advice? Will you listen to advice? 

Being Open to Help

Wilson says that admitting that help is needed in caregiving situations is difficult. Caregivers feel like they can do it all. No one in a caregiving situation wants to look like they cannot do what needs to be done. 

But these family caregivers and the aging adults they care for need to learn more about caregiving. This gap between wanting to do it all and not knowing all of the complexities of caregiving can result in unintended harm to loved ones.

There are sources of help for aging parents and their family caregivers who find themselves in a crisis they have not planned for before the crisis. Wilson offers many resources that help, but sometimes, people fear trusting online caregiving programs, support groups, and courses. 

While we all get older, the need for long-term health care takes people by surprise. Her course, ""Stay at Home,"" helps aging adults and aging parents stay at home. Most people want to remain at home when they get older and require help with daily living activities. While they regret not planning, being open to help and taking proactive actions to accept the support will make the situation easier for everyone involved.

Wilson says that seeking help early will increase the available choices in caregiving situations, thus reducing the stress and burdens generally placed on family caregivers.

Most seniors — 93% of Medicare enrollees aged 65 and older in 2009 — are already aging in place in traditional communities. Robyn Stone, executive director of the LeadingAge Center for Applied Research, says aging in place at home is what most seniors do until they can't.

Most people are doing that until they aren't doing it… it's only when they reach either a crisis or a change in their condition or functional status or in, many times, their family support" that they can no longer remain in their homes.

Family Caregivers Need Help - They Tend to Avoid Asking

Many family caregivers were unprepared for how difficult the job would be. For some, the role of caregiver came on them suddenly, with little time to prepare. While others anticipated it, they underestimated the amount of work that would be required of them. Whether or not becoming a caregiver was planned, it is nearly impossible to do so alone.

The concept of asking for assistance is frequently misunderstood by family caregivers. Since many caregivers see asking for help as a sign of weakness or inadequacy, they are often reluctant to do so. Experts say that is the furthest thing from the truth.

An AARP study shows that only 46% of family caregivers ask for or seek help. Caregivers report problems attending to their own health and well-being while managing caregiving responsibilities. Yet many family caregivers are stubborn, like their older parents, and the result is not good for either the caregiver or the care recipient.

Lucille Carriere, Ph.D., health psychologist for Cleveland Clinic, says that research shows caregiving can take a significant emotional, physical and financial toll on a person.

Family caregiving is an incredibly intensive and time consuming experience. We typically see this in more complex medical diagnoses, such as dementia, where we see a lot of unfortunately negative effects for family caregivers.

According to data from a Cleveland Clinic and Parade Media survey, 36% of caregivers suffer from depression and anxiety, which is 114% more than non-caregivers.

There are many resources for families to seek help from professional in-home care providers, including respite care, adult day care centers, and even assisted living. 

Families find themselves in crisis because of a lack of planning on the part of the older adult. The family can't do anything about that other than deal with the situation. They should also consider preparing now, so their families don't suffer the same consequences when their health declines as they age.

Use Your Parent's Experience to Benefit Your Future

Many experts say the realities of longevity should get our attention as we see our parents get older themselves. Have you thought about your future aging? The consequences of declining health, mobility problems and even dementia have a tremendous impact on our families and finances. 

Long-term health care costs are rising rapidly across the country due to the increasing demand for care and higher labor costs. Even part-time care is expensive. The costs vary depending on where you live. While nursing home costs are the costliest, assisted living, adult day care, and in-home care is not inexpensive either.

The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator will cost you current and future long-term health care costs where you live. In addition, you will see state-specific information about long-term care in your state. Find the information where you live - LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator.

Don't Depend on Health Insurance or Medicare

Remember, health insurance, including Medicare, will not be an answer as it will not cover most long-term health care expenses. Medicaid will pay for long-term health care, but the care recipient must have little or no income and assets to qualify for those benefits. Keep in mind most Medicaid benefits are paid in a nursing home, the place most people want to avoid.

Long-Term Care Insurance can be very helpful, but these policies must be purchased before needing care due to medical underwriting. Most people obtain coverage in their 50s. 

LTC Insurance will provide the funding for your choice of quality care options in your home or a facility. The money from the policy will safeguard your income and assets and preserve your lifestyle and legacy. But LTC Insurance also benefits the family by giving loved ones the time to be family instead of caregivers.

There are resources available if your parent needs help now. But don't ignore your future aging by preparing now. 

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About the Author

Linda is a freelance writer interested in retirement planning, health and aging.

LTC News Contributor Linda Kople

Linda Kople

Contributor since October 31st, 2017

Editor's Note

Most of us want to remain independent for as long as possible. Yet, as we age, we experience declines in our health, body, and mind. We become dependent on others whether we like it or not.

We can avoid placing this burden on our family by preparing for the costs and burdens of aging. Long-Term Care Insurance gives us the resources to avert complete dependency. An LTC policy gives us access to quality care options, including care at home. Our loved ones will have the time to be family instead of caregivers. We get the opportunity to stay at home. Plus, our assets are protected from the high costs of long-term health care.

Most people obtain coverage in their 50s. Every insurance company has its own underwriting rules. 

What is Underwriting? How Does Current Health Impact Ability to Obtain Long-Term Care Insurance?

It is vitally important to share all your health information with a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist who works with the top companies. The specialist will be able to provide you with accurate quotes so you can have the best coverage at the best value.

Most people obtain coverage in their 50s to take advantage of lower premiums and good health discounts.

Get Expert Assistance in Planning

Long-term care is a very specialized area, and few insurance agents and financial advisors have the expertise. Seek the help of a specialist who represents the top companies. 

Top specialists will often have over 500 clients with Long-Term Care Insurance, some in the thousands. This experience is necessary as every company has its own underwriting criteria. Plus, premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. 

A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

LTC NEWS Offers Many Planning Tools and Resources 

Planning for the future is never easy, but long-term health care planning can be very complicated and comes with many emotions. Getting the right tools and resources will make the process much easier.

One of the goals is to reduce the stress and anxiety usually placed on your family at the time of crisis. LTC NEWS can be beneficial in providing you with important information for you to consider.

LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Finding Quality Care for Mom or Dad

If your family is already in crisis and you need to find help for mom or dad, LTC NEWS can help. We have put together several comprehensive guides to help you in your process.

Start by reading our guides -  

If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

Get Help in Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

Many insurance companies have issued Long-Term Care Insurance policies over the years. Filing a claim can sometimes be complicated unless you know what to do or get expert help and assistance. 

Don't allow the claim process to stop you from using the benefits available in an LTC policy. Quality care obtained early will help provide a better quality of life and reduce the risk of a deep decline and facility care. 

If you need help in starting the process of a Long-Term Care Insurance claim, LTC NEWS can help. LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you, or a loved one complete the claims process with a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. We have teamed up with Amada Senior Care, who will do all the work - free with no obligation. 

Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim.

Benefits of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance. You might be eligible at younger ages as well. 

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, and even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. Mike Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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LTC NEWS is open to contributors to share their stories with the world. 

You can write a story or ongoing column for LTC NEWS. You can write about many topics, including aging, caregiving, health, lifestyle, retirement planning, and long-term care, to name a few.

Be sure to write for our core target audience of adults aged 40 and older. Our audience is worldwide; however, our primary target is the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and other English-speaking nations. 

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Email your story idea or article: - LTC News Contributors | LTC News

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