Providing extended health care for any older adult can be a challenging experience, even for professionals who are properly trained for the role. Family caregivers have the added problem of emotions and 'history' when caring for a parent.
Men often fight against long-term health care and providing care for them is even more complicated when a loved one doesn't want help. The refusal by the care recipient of accepting the needed assistance can easily make their overall well-being decline even faster. For family members, this adds additional stress and anxiety.
Loss of Independence Hard to Accept
Experts tell us what seems to make common sense. Men sometimes have a more difficult time accepting the loss of their independence. Be it a physical decline, a decline in their cognitive ability, or other chronic health problems that slow them down, men will be in denial - if they ignore the problem, sometimes they think it will go away.
There is also losing their privacy. Men are used to routines, and when you start experiencing declining health or physical and cognitive issues, the routines they have been used to change.
When you get older, you might be frightened and vulnerable about a new stage of life and where that is leading to. You would expect some level of fear. Men think of themselves as being strong - the rock of the family. When they become a care recipient, they recognize they are no longer in that position.
Fighting Against Care
In an AARP article, Barry J. Jacobs, a clinical psychologist, family therapist, and healthcare consultant, says that men become fiercely determined to show they can do something when they have been they cannot. Jacobs says it can take men some time — often upwards of a year — to completely accept a difficult medical diagnosis, such as Parkinson's disease.
Ways to Manage Resistance to Care
There are strategies to reduce men's resistance to long-term health care. Some women will give you resistance to needing care as well, so these can be effective for anyone in denial. However, for a person with dementia, some of these may not be effective.
The Mayo Clinic makes several recommendations, including some of these:
- Address Cost
Many older adults, especially men, will be concerned over the cost of long-term health care services - either in-home care or facility care. They may tell you they can 'do without' to 'save the money.'
Cost is a concern since health insurance (including Medicare and supplements) won't pay for most of this type of care. Long-Term Care Insurance will pay for long-term health care, and if they own a policy, be sure you encourage them to use it. They may tell you they want to save the policy 'for a rainy day.' Gently remind them that rainy day has come, which is why they purchased the policy in the first place.
You can get free no-obligation assistance in making a claim for the Long-Term Care Insurance policy along with case management - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News.
If your loved one has little or no savings, Medicaid can pay for care. If no other funding other than personal assets is available, assure them you will make good decisions to find appropriate care without spending too much money. LTC NEWS can still provide case management and care recommendations even if your loved one does not own LTC Insurance. Get the help and ease everyone's mind.
The goal is to reduce the worry from your loved one and help them accept the help and assistance they require.
- Be Positive About the Care Experience
Speak in terms of an in-home care provider as a 'friend' who comes by to be helpful, making their daily lives easier because 'they deserve it.' A facility like assisted living or even adult day care centers can be described as a way to enjoy activities and be among friends and not someplace that 'old people go to. After they experience a good facility or an adult day care center, they change their mind and become more eager.
- Trial Run
Explain that they give the care a shot, and if they don't like it, you can discuss it again in the future. This option might reduce some hesitancy on their part. If the outcome of the care is good, they will often not look back.
- Explain You Need the Help
Family caregivers face physical and emotional challenges. Explain to your loved one that you have your career, spouse, family, and other responsibilities, and it would be tough to juggle everything and be their caregiver.
You can say, "I love you, but I need the help."
Masculinity an Obstacle to Receiving Long-Term Health Care
Masculinity is one of the primary reasons for health care avoidance or underuse, including long-term health care. They might become stubborn or just think it's a sign of weakness to accept help. Be understanding. The fact is that resistance to care is a significant challenge that families and caregivers face.
Keep your loved one involved in decisions about their care plan, if possible. Speak of the benefits of accepting assistance. Not only will they benefit from accepting the appropriate help, but by doing so, it will reduce the stress and anxiety the rest of the family faces as well.
Don't Ignore Your Own Aging
Aging happens, yet men tend to think more than women that they will never need long-term health care. Yet, men tend to become care recipients first, and without planning, they force their spouse or family to become caregivers - or drain significant assets leaving less for a wife you may live many years beyond them.
Many Gen Xers or Late-Boomers experiencing their parent's need for long-term care see the costs and burdens that come with longevity. Despite facing it firsthand, men often ignore planning for their own future decline in health, body, and mind.
Men in their 40s and 50s today are more realistic than their fathers are when it comes to planning and their aging. However, there is still a little denial that we all experience. Fighting against this denial will protect your savings and reduce the stress and anxiety your family will face in the decades ahead.
Care is Expensive Today – Costs Will Increase Decades from Now
Understand that long-term health care costs are growing every year due to higher demand and higher labor costs. Even if you have saved a considerable amount of money in your 401(k), IRA, and other savings vehicles, you might still not have enough to cover the costs of care and maintain lifestyle and legacy.
The cost of care varies depending on where you live. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for example, three years of in-home care today averages around $180,000. However, in twenty-five years, that cost is expected to run about $390,000. Add a few years of assisted living, memory care, or nursing home cost, and you could drain over $750,000 to $1,000,000 throughout the period of care - Pennsylvania Long-Term Care | LTC News.
However, if you live in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the costs would be less but still considerable - Oklahoma Long-Term Care | LTC News.
Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance can more easily be obtainable and much more affordable when purchased in your 40s or 50s. In fact, it is when most people purchase policies today - Majority of LTC Insurance Buyers are in Their 50s | LTC News.
You know the physical, emotional, and financial burdens families face due to aging and long-term health care. Unlike your older parents, you have time to prepare now to reduce the stress in the future.
About the Author
Linda is a former journalist who now enjoys writing about topics she is interested in so she “can keep her mind active and engaged”.
Contributor since December 11th, 2017
Delaying planning for longevity only increases the cost or reduces the available options. Planning for the costs and burdens of aging should be a vital part of your retirement plan.
Long-Term Care Insurance is easy and affordable, with many available options. These policies are custom designed to meet your needs and budget. You cannot purchase a policy when you need the care - you plan now - ideally in your 40s or 50s. It is, however, your good health today that allows you to think about planning. Your health, body, and mind do decline, and acting now is only to your benefit.
Planning Tools Available on LTC NEWS
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Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.
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Learn more now - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.