When elderly parents refuse help, it can feel like a battle. You want to be able to help them, but they don’t seem to want your help. It’s easy for you and your parents to get stuck in a cycle where you’re frustrated and angry at each other, and they’re frustrated and mad at themselves. Knowing how much you should push when taking care of your aging parent can also be challenging.
Sometimes you’ll be able to persuade your parent that they need assistance, but other times they may refuse help. It’s important to remember that while their health is declining, they still have rights that must be respected.
Here are some tips for communicating with elderly parents who refuse help.
- Don’t take it personally! You need to remember that elderly parents’ resistance is not about YOU—it’s about them feeling like they’re losing control of their lives.
- Acknowledge how hard it must be for them to ask for help—and say thanks! This will make them feel more comfortable with asking again if they need something more in the future.
- Offer solutions instead of objections. Instead of saying, “You shouldn’t do that because…” try saying something like, “Here are some ways we could make this easier.” This will help your parent feel listened to while allowing them some control over the situation.
- Be empathetic and non-judgmental. Even if your parent says something hurtful or makes a decision that seems irrational, try not to respond aggressively or defensively. Instead, acknowledge their feelings and concerns with phrases like “I understand why this might be hard for you” or “I know it must be difficult right now.”
- Be willing to compromise – if you’re trying to help them with something they’ve said they don’t want or need help with, offer alternatives that may work better for them (like providing a ride instead of doing their shopping).
- Make sure that your parents understand the benefits of accepting help. If possible, have them meet the potential caregiver or service provider so that they know who will be helping them out in the future.
When an elderly parent refuses help, it can be hard to know what to do next. Many people find themselves in this situation and don’t know how to navigate it effectively. Sometimes, we get it right—we’re able to provide support and assistance in a way that makes our loved ones feel comfortable and cared for. But other times, things can get tricky.
Our elderly parents deserve respect and love as we do, but it needs to be balanced with practical care for their wellbeing. Put some of the communication tips you’ve read above into practice. Hopefully, these tips will help you achieve a happy and healthy balance between the two.
If you are looking for additional support to meet the changing needs of your family member, please reach out to us at: www.affinityseniorhelp.com or call Affinity at 248-363-8430.