What to Do When Your Elderly Parent Refuses Help

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Elderly Parent Refuses Help

Posted: 26 May 2018

We’ve all seen ridiculously old people barreling down the highway in their Cadillacs, barely able to see over the wheel, and wondered how they’re still allowed to drive.

While being independent is something we all desire, there is a point where its unsafe for someone to complete basic tasks like driving to the grocery store on their own.

Some people accept their loss of mobility and increased dependency with grace, while others fight the change with every proud bone in their body.

When your elderly parent refuses help, you may not know where to turn.

Caregivers and family members tend to experience a range of emotions when it is time to put someone in an assisted living facility. Whether its frustration or guilt, fear not.

Read on to learn how to get your parent ready to accept the help they need today.

Start in Advance

When a health crisis strikes, decisions have to be made quickly about where an elderly parent is going to go. But if there is a plan in place beforehand that everyone is comfortable with then the transition will go much smoother.

Start when your parent is in their seventies and ask them about where they see themselves living at the end of their life and about their potential willingness to hire in-home help at some point.

If they start by saying that they have no interest in ever living in an assisted living facility, then you know you will have a long battle ahead to get them into a center like Families Choice Home Care.

Have Patience When an Elderly Parent Refuses Help

Some people have a tendency to shut their elderly parents down when their requests aren’t making sense and are bothersome.

For example, sometimes a parent will fire multiple in-home aids for reasons that are ridiculous like their failure to vacuum under a coffee table or wash the windows.

But if you take the time to listen to your parent, then you may find that the reason they feel so upset has little to do with the cleaning. Give them time to explain their feelings and take the time to alleviate their concerns.

Probe Further

The only way you can create a solution is if you understand the problem fully. Many elderly who refuse help have fears about their privacy, the cost of the care, their loss of independence or simply the idea of having a stranger in the house.

Build trust with your parent by listening with an empathetic ear. Validate their feelings and come to a solution together.

Give Additional Options

If you explore the idea of additional care before your parent needs it, then they have the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process.

They should go with you to interviews and to tour facilities so that they can learn about the activities that will be available and get comfortable with the idea of one day living there.

Recruit Others

Many times people find that getting a professional involved can make dealing with an elderly parents refusal to get help much easier.

Try asking a social worker or a priest, doctor, or old buddy to suggest to your parent that it may be time for them to get more help. It will feel better for them having come from multiple sources.

Prioritize Your Efforts

When you have an aging parent it can seem like your problems are piling up right beside theirs.

But sorting through everything can be done with an organized effort.

Try making a list of all the issues you are having with your parents and then make a list of the steps you have taken to address these problems.

Then categorize your efforts – you will quickly see how many roles you are filling. With such a burden, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Instead of trying to tackle everything at once, number your priorities for better results. Then just work your way down the list and relax as much as you can.

Use an Indirect Approach

If your parent has trouble with their memory or is less-high functioning than they used to be, there is no reason for you to over explain who their aid is and what their role is.

Just tell them that the person is there to help them through the day and let the relationship form naturally. You don’t want to overwhelm them or make them feel threatened.

Take It Slow

When you are first starting with an in-home aid, you should weave them into your parents day slowly.

Try starting with meeting for coffee and then move to short in-home visits. After a few weeks, you can bring the aid to doctors appointments and before you know it the aid will be a functioning figure in your parent’s life.

Realize There is a Limit

Until your elderly parent is putting others in danger, they should be able to continue making their own choices about where they want to live and how much help they need.

While bad things do happen, there is really not a lot you can do to prevent them. Accept the limit of what is in your control and what isn’t and just do the best you can. Never feel guilty if your parent ends up getting injured or goes a meal or two without eating.

This is the reality of growing old. Give your parent a reality check and offer them a helping hand, and then move on.

More Lifestyle Articles

Now that you know what to do if your elderly parent refuses help, you are ready to talk to them about getting additional care.

If you’re looking for more helpful advice, check out our lifestyle blog today.

Elderly Parent Refuses Help

One thought on “What to Do When Your Elderly Parent Refuses Help

  1. emma

    This topic hits close to home. I wish we had discussed this topic with my mother earlier, as we only started talking about it after it became clear she couldn’t live on her own anymore and she was adamant about not needing help. We finally compromised on a lovely caregiver who checks in with my mom every day, but it was such a struggle getting her to accept help. Wonderful tips for anyone in the same situation!


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