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What to Do When Someone You Love Refuses to Recognize Health Concerns

recognizing health concerns

Watching someone you love age can be daunting as it comes with many changes. Health concerns often arise, yet it’s common for seniors to downplay or even deny issues, complicating the caregiving dynamic.

Understanding the reasons why your family member refuses to acknowledge health concerns and arming yourself with strategies to handle these delicate matters can be pivotal.

At Franklin Park® Senior Living, we understand that this topic can be difficult to navigate, so we are sharing what steps to take to help your loved one start recognizing health concerns.

Open the Dialogue with Empathy

Framing conversations around health can be intrinsically sensitive, and it’s essential to approach these topics with genuine empathy. Start by asking open-ended questions that signal your concern without coming across as judgmental. Open dialogue can unveil fears and anxieties that older adults might not voice unless prompted in a non-confrontational manner.

“Mom, you seem a bit tired lately. How are you feeling?” is far more inviting than a pointed “You need to see a doctor.”

Showing understanding can also mean lending an ear as your loved one recounts their health history and experiences. By making them feel genuinely heard, they are more likely to open up about their reservations about medical intervention.

Gather a Supportive Circle

Often, the voice of one family member isn’t strong enough to overcome an individual’s refusal to address their health. Building a coalition of support can sway the conversation more significantly. This could involve enlisting the help of close friends, supportive relatives, or even a senior living advisor who can offer a professional perspective.

If your aging family member is currently living in a senior living community in San Antonio, the expertise and counsel of the community’s team can be invaluable. At Franklin Park®, we are experienced in handling delicate family conversations and understand the nuanced fears and objections many individuals have. We can assist with mediating discussions without the emotional baggage of familial dynamics.

Show the Real Impact

Sometimes, individuals are blissfully unaware of how their health affects not only themselves but also their family’s well-being. By demonstrating how their condition is impacting your life or the lives of their grandchildren, you can encourage them to take their health more seriously.

For instance, you could express how their reluctance makes you worry, affecting your productivity at work. Equally, laying out how enhanced medical care could lead to a significant improvement in their quality of life, such as alleviating pain or increasing mobility, is an argument rooted in love and genuine concern.

Sometimes, examining the scenarios can be stark. Real-life examples like, “Mom, your high blood pressure isn’t just a number on a report; it means your risk of a stroke is much higher, and it terrifies us,” can powerfully drive the message home.

Provide a Sense of Control and Choice

We all cherish our autonomy, so when making health decisions, it’s crucial to provide your family member with choices and a sense of control. Rather than imposing a doctor’s appointment, offer to research physicians together or propose a telehealth consultation. This approach empowers your family member to choose a path forward, leading to more successful outcomes and a deeper sense of satisfaction with the decision-making process.

Similarly, instead of declaring a move to a senior living community, explore the possibilities and amenities available in a collaborative manner. Researching communities together can fuel optimism about the lifestyle and activities that await them, shifting the narrative from loss to a newfound sense of independence.

Educate and Normalize the Process

When someone isn’t recognizing health concerns, it can indicate a sense of being overwhelmed by the vague specter of a complicated medical system or the stigma of aging. Educating your family member about common health issues associated with aging can normalize the experiences they’re going through, reducing the stigma or fear they might associate with illness.

Information about disease prevention, symptom management, and the benefits of early intervention can quell apprehensions about treatment and underscore the normalcy of taking preventive measures. Portraying health management as a natural part of the aging process can shift the perspective from an ordeal to an expected progression that is faced by many.

Highlight the various care options available, like senior living communities that offer a continuum of care from independent living to memory care. By offering concrete steps, such as scheduling a tour of a community, the route to sustained well-being becomes clearer and less ominous.

Broach the Conversation in Installments

Overcharging a single conversation with the task of convincing your family member of a major life change can create stress and defensiveness. Instead, approach the topic of health and supportive care in installments, each conversation building on the last in a non-linear, less threatening fashion.

For example, one discussion could revolve around a specific, immediate health concern, such as chronic pain management. The next might be to explore available resources, such as support groups or in-home care. This incremental approach allows both parties to process the information at a comfortable pace and reduces the likelihood of an outright refusal to consider change based on being overwhelmed.

Prepare for Emotional Resistance

Health-related discussions are often fraught with emotion, and when caring for an aging family member, these emotions can be especially potent. Be prepared for resistance that can manifest as anger, denial, or sadness. Recognize that these reactions are a natural part of significant lifestyle changes and can be managed through patience and loving reassurance.

Be clear in your readiness to support them through these emotions, and underline the fact that you’re pursuing these conversations out of love and with the best intentions. Create a safe space for your family member to express their feelings without judgment, ensuring that your conversations cover logistical obligations and the emotional aspects of health and aging.

At Franklin Park® Senior Living, we understand the importance of exceptional care. By providing a high quality of life for older adults, we ensure your family member enjoys their retirement years comfortably and with dignity. With our compassionate and personalized approach to senior care, we help ease the transition, working in tandem with families to offer a supportive environment that nurtures physical and emotional health.

We invite you to contact our team today to learn more about our senior living communities in San Antonio and how we can enhance your family member’s overall health and wellness.