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Accept That Elders May Refuse Help but Make Contingency Plans

Dear Carol: My mother still smokes even though she has lung disease. She’s also got severe osteoarthritis and is at least 50 pounds overweight. She lives in the same house that’s been her home for 35 years. I’ve asked her to let me line up some in-home care just to help her out as well as give her company but she says she doesn’t want strangers in her home. I live in another city though I drive to see her every weekend. I hate to see her living like this.

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Absolutely! I can't say I blame them. Few of us want to give up control of our lives before we have to and we deserve the dignity of refusal for as long as our cognitive function allows.

I believe some of the resistance from seniors is their knowledge that the change represents a loss of control.

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