How Denial About Decline Compromises Senior Care

How Denial About Decline Compromises Senior Care

Elderly decline is a natural, if unfortunate, part of life. Decline in physical and cognitive function is an inevitable part of growing older, making day-to-day life increasingly difficult for seniors. Come a certain point, decline makes it unsafe for seniors to continue living without the support of senior care, either from family caregivers or a senior care agencyHow Denial About Decline Compromises Senior Care
Decline often goes hand-in-hand with denial. Elderly decline is stressful on seniors and their family members, and many people use denial as a coping mechanism. But denial about elderly decline and the need for senior care isn’t just common — it’s also dangerous. Denial prevents elderly adults from getting the care they need, which can accelerate their decline, severely reduce their well-being, and put them at serious risk of illness and injury.

Understanding Denial & Senior Care

No one is immune from denial about elderly decline and the need for senior care. Denial is commonly experienced by declining seniors, and it can affect their spouses, siblings, children, grandchildren, and friends. Sometimes, denial from a single person is what undermines senior care. Other times, an entire family is in denial, creating a particularly difficult situation.
While denial is difficult to overcome, a greater awareness of how denial works can make it easier to recognize denial in yourself or others. The following information may help you better understand denial, how it relates to elderly decline, and how it compromises senior care efforts.

  • Denial occurs when a situation is too distressing for a person to accept. By minimizing or ignoring the problem, the person can avoid its emotional consequences.
  • Short-term denial can be healthy, as it gives a person time to emotionally process traumatic information. For instance, it may give an elderly adult the chance to subconsciously process the fact that they won’t be able to live on their own without assistance.
  • Denial becomes unhealthy if it continues long-term, or if it prevents urgently needed action. In cases of elderly decline, it can mean that a person does not get senior care services they desperately need.
  • Declining seniors who go into denial are often distressed that they may lose the ability to walk, retain memories, perform favorite activities, be self-sufficient, or continue living at home.
  • Family members of declining seniors may go into denial because they’re afraid of losing their loved one, because they worry about the costs of senior care, or because they feel unprepared to act as a caregiver.
  • Signs of denial include ignoring signs of a problem, treating signs of a problem as insignificant, or rationalizing reasons not to worry about signs of a problem.
  • It is extremely difficult for a person to recognize that they are suffering from denial or to convince them they are in denial, but the condition is often obvious to outsiders.

Overcoming Denial Around Elderly Decline

Have you noticed signs of denial about elderly decline and the need for senior care in your loved one, a family member, or even yourself? If so, there are strategies you can use to overcome it.
When dealing with another person in denial, it’s important to avoid anger or judgment whenever possible. Build a case around facts and evidence. Often, denial continues because a person avoids information that would prove the problem exists. Introducing this information could stop denial from persisting. If you can predict ways that the person might explain away or rationalize new information, you can also be prepared to show them why their way of thinking may be mistaken. Be prepared, however, for denial to continue despite intervention.
If denial persists, you might wish to schedule a senior care consultation with a care professional. An expert’s voice could be the difference maker your family member needs to see signs of decline for what they are. Typically, these consultations are provided at no cost and with no obligation to continue with senior care.
To learn about senior care options in your local area, or to book a free care consultation for your loved one, contact your local Visiting Angels today.

How Denial About Decline Compromises Senior Care

How Denial About Decline Compromises Senior Care How Denial About Decline Compromises Senior Care How Denial About Decline Compromises Senior Care How Denial About Decline Compromises Senior Care How Denial About Decline Compromises Senior Care 

About the Author

Richard Bitner

Visiting Angels is a national, private duty network of senior care agencies. We are proud to be the nation’s leading provider of non-medical at home care services. With our elder care services, seniors can remain independent and live safely at home. Our senior care services include Social Care, Dementia Care, Alzheimer’s Care, End of Life Care, Companion Care, Private Duty Care, care to prevent hospital readmission, and so much more.

Compassionate, dignified at home senior care is close to home when you connect with your local Visiting Angels office by calling 800-365-4189.

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