The Unmotivated Senior
People with aging parents probably don’t need too much convincing that their parents might one day benefit from long term care. They want the best for their parents, after all.
But convincing Mom and Dad that its time to make a change in living arrangements may be a challenge. And that’s where aging-in-place may be a real viable solution today.
Certainly, there are some seniors who are eager to adapt to anything that will enable them to remain in their homes. They’ve acknowledged they have new limitations, so they’re open to new arrangements and technology that preserve as much of their independence as possible while still providing a safety net.
There are others who haven’t quite come to terms with the changes in their bodies and their daily needs. These folks, who might be dubbed “unmotivated seniors,” definitely need help and support. But they’re resistant to the changes that come with closer management of their health and living conditions and/or resistant to the technologies that could support it.
Fear of change does hold some seniors back. They’re grappling with the stress that life changes always bring. And they may be uncomfortable with the role reversal that comes with letting their children make some of their decisions for them.
So when you open up a dialogue with your senior, try to remember that it’s most important to maintain a sense of respect. You want to make the best possible decision with your loved one, but you want them to know that you’re listening to them and hearing their concerns. And you want them to know that you want to do what’s truly best for them, too.
Then you can discuss which solutions will work best.
Rowan Consulting Associates recently published a technology report suggesting how seniors might be coaxed into better accepting new aging options. The article proposed finding a very specific incentive — one simple reason that will appeal to the senior — as to why the move — whatever it may be — makes sense.
Does your diabetic mother want to remain in her home but is having trouble maintaining good control of her blood glucose levels? Explain to her that there is technology that will help her track her glucose levels more accurately. She simply needs to learn a little bit about how it works.
Or maybe your father is shaky on his feet these days, but he insists that he can still get around by himself just fine. A fall detection system would ease both of your minds about his safety when he’s home alone—and preserve his need for some independence.
You might also spend some time honing in on other obstacles that may be impeding your loved one’s motivation.
A recent report from the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine noted that many older adults don’t feel they have any control over their own health anymore. Well, guess what? New innovations in aging-in-place are making it possible for seniors to have more — not less — control over their lifestyle. There are interventions that can address this perceived lack of control.
It could be that the “unmotivated senior” simply doesn’t have enough information about their condition and the importance of carefully managing it. For instance, knowing your mother’s definition of health and her outlook on treatment for illness or injury may be useful for you when it comes to speaking to her about her health needs.
We’re all going to have to one day face the physical limitations that come with age and the lifestyle changes that that moment demands. But today, more and more, that’s where the aging-in-place trend — and the technology that supports it — may be a perfect solution for you and your ‘unmotivated senior.”