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Overcoming Resistance to Care Web

Overcoming Resistance to Care Web

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Published by: Interfaith CarePartners on Sep 19, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/17/2015

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701 N. Post Oak Rd., Ste. 330, Houston, TX 77024 | 713-682-5995info@interfaithcarepartners.org|www.interfaithcarepartners.org 
1
Thank You, I Don’t Need Anything:
 Overcoming Resistance to Accept Care and Support
Caregiving Team members often are amazed and frustrated that prospectivecare partners,
who would obviously benefit from the team’s assistance, refuse the offer 
of care and support. In order to properly respond to the refusals, it is helpful to havesome understanding of why people tend to refuse the kindness of others.Societal factors that contribute to resistance to accept care and support include thefollowing.Independence and individualism are primary, if not ultimate, values in Americansociety. Children are taught to live self-sufficiently, not inter-dependently.Mobility, time limits, energy limits often result in shallow attachments with others,including family, and presumably validate an ethos of putative self-sufficiency.Social connections tend to be less intense with others and organizations.Individualism and shallow connections insulate us from the fate and feelings ofothers. Individualism undermines mutuality or interdependence. Life evolvesinto a collection of movements that overlap or intersect, but arecompartmentalized mainly because they are partial expression
s of one person’s
existence. We think of relationships as one-to-one, rather than an intertwinedconnected web or network.Family structures evolve within cultural and ethnic communities and across thelifespan. In general, the extended family now looks different than in the past. Insome cases, it seems to be a loose network of nuclear families. Values andresponsibilities of kinship continue to change as the social context changes. Ag
oal of parenthood is a child’s independence, not reciprocal
ties and obligationsbetween generations. These values are revealed by older adults through
comments like “I don’t want to be dependent on my children
,
“I don’t want to bea burden,” or “I want to be my own person,”
even when the sustaining companyof kin would be reassuring, comforting, and prudent.Despite the devotion to the American ideal of individualism, people tend to thinkthat the good life cannot be lived in isolation, connectedness to others in work,love, and community are essential to happiness, self-esteem, and moral worth.In short, people think relationships are important.
 
 
701 N. Post Oak Rd., Ste. 330, Houston, TX 77024 | 713-682-5995info@interfaithcarepartners.org|www.interfaithcarepartners.org 
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Individualism and self-reliance predispose people to not call on others for a gift ofcare. It is thought impolite to ask for a gift which
can be seen as ‘begging
.
Ifcare is needed and obtained, then
it ‘should’ be purchased
, a sentiment captured
by the comment, “I don’t want charity
.
Thus,
‘care’ becomes a service that one
purchases. Private insurance and public service programs foster this expectationthat
‘care’ can be bought at someone else’s expense and responsibility.
Carebecomes commercialized and secularized within a capitalist economy. Apsychology of individualism and independence legitimize a turn to strangers forservice, rather than family or friends
. Accordingly, ‘caregiving’ becomes an
occupation, not a gift from one person to another or an expression ofrelationship.Formal or paid service may be necessary at times, however, gifts of care fromfamily, friends, and volunteers bring an added level of support and quality ofrelationship.The isolation, disconnection, and shallow social bonds with others that pass asthe norm in society and the reality for many are some reasons why people needand should accept care from a Caregiving Team. Support by a team offers astrong counter statement to prevailing social values and norms of conduct.Team engagement with a care partner offers unique opportunities for new
relationships that enrich everyone’s life. It also affords an opportunity for 
intergenerational contact for children and families. For example, involving
children with care partners may be a type of ‘grandparent’ experience. Youth
may have an opportunity to complete a service project during the course of whichthey learn about giving and helping. Families as a whole may relate to a carepartner and do ministry together as a family, rather than having all ministryopportunities segregated by age or gender. Youth can take oral histories of oldercare partners and learn on a first person basis about social changes andpersonal life experiences.Personal factors may contribute to a
person’s
resistance or ambivalence aboutaccepting care and support.People may simply minimize, not recognize, or deny their incapacities orlimitations. A survey by the National Council on Aging conducted in 2000 ofadults 65+ illustrates this lack of self-recognition. For example, 92% said healthis a very or somewhat serious problem for most people 65+, but only 42% said itwas for them. They said loneliness is a very or somewhat serious problem for
 
 
701 N. Post Oak Rd., Ste. 330, Houston, TX 77024 | 713-682-5995info@interfaithcarepartners.org|www.interfaithcarepartners.org 
3
84% over 65, but only 21% said it was for them. These data may not besurprising if we consider how we see ourselves with respect to our own age. Wehardly think or feel that we are as old as we are or that our age does or shouldentail any limits on our activities.Pride may inhibit a person from accepting care. Admitting one has need is felt tobe a personal failure. It is contrary to self-reliance and, accordingly, a sign ofpersonal shortcoming. We live in a culture that idealizes perfection which resultsin anything less being disvalued and hidden. Asking others for assistance
requires one to recognize and reveal one’s shortcomings. Rather than do this,
people often think that it is better to accept and compensate, than to reveal,
one’s loss or need
. Losses are kept secret to protect oneself or a loved one fromthe changed opinions or pity of others.Embarrassment
about one’s circumstance
or feeling ashamed in some way mayadd to resistance to accept care.Polite people tend to be reluctant to make others uncomfortable. If it is felt thatothers would be unc
omfortable with one’s situation, people resist allowing them
in.People are reluctant to bother, impose, disrupt, burden, or intrude on others. Thepresence and assistance of others may be perceived to do this.People tend to never have learned how to ask for or accept assistance. Theyhave had no good role models. Rather than make a blunder, they resistassistance.People may resist offers of care because of some anger or grudge about somepast offense. This may be true more of people who are members of a T
eam’s
congregation than non-members with no history with the faith community ormembers.People may minimize or underestimate a desire or willingness of others to assist.The offer of support may not be taken seriously.Accepting
‘help’
may carry a social stigma (one is not independent or self-sufficient) or
feel like one is accepting ‘
welfare
,’ a good or service that has not
been purchased.

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