Overcoming Resintence to Home Care Results in a 87 Year-Old Man Staying at Home Where He Wants Live
I received a call from an elder law attorney who was working with two adult children and their 82 year old father. The father was described as stubborn and arrogant. He was on 10 different medications. He was diabetic, unsteady on his feet, had a problem with circulation and suffered from dementia (forgetfulness). The adult children, one who lived out of the country and another who lived out of state made several attempts to get home care but their father fired everyone that went into the home.
I visited Harry and met a very intelligent, strong willed man with a fabulous sense of humor. He denied he needed help and refused to allow me to bring anyone in as an aide. I spent time chatting with him getting to know him and allowing him to develop trust in me. We talked about his life including his controlling mother. I understood that he needed to feel in control. I explained to him that his refusal to accept home care was very painful and stressful to his children. He confided that he did not want to be a burden to them. Over time, he began to open up to the idea. I explained that he would be a partner in finding the right aide. Several aides were brought in to interview, and Harry knew that his veto would be accepted if he did not feel comfortable with an individual. Not surprisingly, he rejected all of them. But for the most part, I found Harrys perception and evaluation of people to be on target. We discussed each candidate and he saw how I respected his judgment.
The problem was no longer his acceptance of home care, but was finding the right person to be his aide. I was able to understand his likes and dislikes which helped me to narrow down the list of candidates. After many tries we finally found the right match. The number of hours Harry would accept initially was minimal, only 4 hours a day. Over time he began to grow attached to the aide and wanted her to stay longer. By nature, Harry is an incredibly social person, but he developed a fear of falling and became isolated.
In spite of his needing 24-hour care Harry refused to allow the aide to stay overnight. However about a year later Harry Fell in the middle of the night. It became obvious even to him that he should not be alone at night. It was then that Harry allowed the aide to stay during night. Harry is now at the point where, if I have to bring in a new aide, he has complete faith in me and he says I trust you and trust the people you bring.
Not only is Harry at home but his adult children no longer worry about him. They know that no matter what happens Hearthside will be there for them and for Harry.
Having an aide as company helped to ameliorate Harrys social isolation.
Why We Do This Work
----- Original Message -----
From: Katrina Marsh
To: adult children
Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2008 11:15 AM
Subject: Your Dad
Hi, I just got a call from Sandra (home health aide). Yesterday she took your dad to see the war movie that he wanted to see, "Miracle at St. Anna". I am quite excited to hear he had such a wonderful experience. Sandra said he was so touched by the movie. He told her that the movie showed the exact areas where he was. The most moving part was after the movie. Your dad wore his Purple Heart cap, so someone asked him if he was really in the war. He said yes and began to speak of the movie's depiction of where he had been. This drew even more people to him. Sandra said he was a celebrity yesterday. He not only got handshakes from the grateful people, but many said, "Thank you Sir for what you did for this country". She said the entire experience of watching him and the people honoring him brought tears to her eyes. She said he has not stopped thanking her from yesterday for taking him. She added that she has actually been surprised that he still remembers the movie and yesterday's experience this morning, but he does. He told her he will never forget it.
Katrina Marsh, MSSW
Hearthside Care Coordinators
26 Court Street, Suite 2810
Brooklyn, NY 11242
"We can be there when you can't"