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What to Do When Elderly Parents Don’t Want Help

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A man and his older adult father ignoring each other.

Taking care of aging parents can be both fulfilling and challenging. When they resist assistance, it can lead to stress and worry about their safety and health. It’s crucial to approach this situation with strategies that honor their independence while prioritizing their needs. Here are some practical tips for dealing with your elderly parents’ refusal of help:

  • Engage in open and sincere discussions
  • Acknowledge their independence while understanding their emotions
  • Suggest specific forms of help
  • Consult with professionals as needed
  • Include the whole family in the conversation
  • Prioritize their safety in your efforts
  • Exercise patience and keep trying
  • Propose temporary trials for support services
  • Offer your emotional backing
  • Care for your well-being, too

Arcadia at Limerick Pointe provides valuable resources for families to manage the complexities associated with the aging process of their loved ones, including valuable independent living and personal care services.

Open & Sincere Discussions

When you begin discussing your parents’ hesitation to accept help, creating an environment of trust and openness is key. Show that you truly care about their views and make sure everyone involved gets a chance to express themselves. 

This is not merely about resolving conflicts; it’s about deeply understanding one another’s perspectives. Through such open discussions, you can more effectively collaborate to find solutions.

Acknowledge Their Independence 

Recognize and honor your parents’ independence by acknowledging their right to make choices, even when you don’t agree with them. Avoid belittling or overlooking their preferences and work towards solutions everyone can agree on. At times, this might mean employing innovative strategies, such as suggesting your need for their assistance.

Understand Their Emotions

Pay attention to and affirm your parents’ emotions, especially if they show reluctance or annoyance at your assistance efforts. Listen empathetically and reassure them that their feelings are valid and taken seriously.

Suggest Specific Forms of Help

Rather than presenting broad, undefined offers of assistance to your parents, propose concrete, detailed forms of support. This could include going with them to medical appointments, helping with tasks around the house, or coordinating professional caregiving services.

Consult With Professionals as Needed

When convincing your parents to accept additional support becomes challenging, consider involving a respected authority, such as a healthcare provider or a geriatric care manager. These professionals come from fields like nursing and social work and are well-versed in the care needs of the elderly. 

They can engage with your parents, assess their requirements, and recommend the most appropriate actions. Essentially, they act as knowledgeable allies who can guide you through the complexities of older adult care, facilitating discussions with healthcare providers and social services to simplify the process. 

Their impartial stance—free from any family dynamics or past issues—may encourage your parents to consider their guidance seriously.

A woman happily having a conversation with her older adult mother.

Include The Whole Family

Gather the backing of siblings and additional relatives to approach and tackle your parents’ resistance to assistance. By showing a collective agreement, you can highlight the gravity of the matter and persuade your parents to reevaluate their position.

Prioritize Safety

In conversations about support with your parents, focus on the significance of safety and well-being. Present your assistance proposals as ways to reduce hazards and ensure their ongoing autonomy and quality of life.

Exercise Patience & Keep Trying

Talking to your parents about needing more support can be challenging. Enter these conversations with patience and avoid pushing them too quickly. Remember to also keep a level head, even if it feels like progress is slow. 

A useful approach is asking lots of questions to understand why they might hesitate to accept help. Identifying whether their resistance is due to a fear of losing autonomy or apprehension about changes is essential for tailoring your discussions.

Being persistent in these conversations is important; remain dedicated to your cause; over time, they might start seeing the benefits of receiving assistance.

Propose Temporary Trials

Propose temporarily experimenting with specific types of support to ease your parents’ worries and apprehensions. This method lets them witness the advantages of receiving help firsthand while maintaining their decision-making autonomy.

Offer Your Emotional Backing

Persuading your parents to accept some assistance can be tough. They’re likely grappling with a mix of emotions, from feeling overwhelmed or fearful to possibly being too proud. The most effective approach is to offer them your love and support. Assure them that you’re always there for them.

Everyone values their independence and the ability to make decisions about their lives. Your parents might face uncertainties, but your presence, willingness to listen, and empathy can significantly impact their outlook.

Care for Your Well-Being, Too

Looking after aging parents can be both emotionally and physically demanding, particularly when they resist assistance. It’s important to contact friends, support groups, or a therapist to help manage your emotions and keep yourself healthy. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself—you are doing everything you can during a challenging period in life.

Managing the Challenges of Care

Dealing with elderly parents who resist assistance involves carefully balancing patience, compassion, and clear communication. By handling the situation with sensitivity and respect, you can identify methods to aid your parents while prioritizing their independence and dignity. 

You’re not isolated in this journey. Arcadia at Limerick Pointe is here to support you, providing resources and answers to any questions you might have. We invite you to contact us and visit our communities for a closer look at how we can help.

Written by Arcadia Limerick Pointe

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