Resolving Conflict When Aging Parents Reject Assistance

A man uses strategies for when aging parents reject assistance while talking to his elderly father about getting some help at home.

It can be frustrating when aging parents reject assistance, but these strategies can help break down some common barriers.

It is a complicated scenario many family caregivers face: your elderly parents, who once looked after you, now resist the help they so desperately need. There is a delicate balance between respecting their freedom and ensuring their well-being and safety. If you are in this situation, you are not alone! We know the array of emotions that go along with accepting the need for help, and have some tips to help when aging parents reject assistance.

Look at Things From Their Point of View

Understanding the reasons behind your parents’ resistance is a good place to start. Often, it stems from a need to retain autonomy and control of their lives. Aging can be an overwhelming process, marked by cognitive and physical changes that can leave seniors feeling vulnerable. By refusing help, they may be attempting to declare their autonomy and maintain a sense of dignity.

However, fear and denial may also be playing a role in their denial of help. Acknowledging that help is needed can be frightening, as it might signify a loss of independence. Additionally, some individuals may simply not understand how profound their limitations have become or even the available support options.

Coming to an Agreement About the Need for Care

So, what can be done when dealing with this complicated position? Most importantly, address the conversation with understanding and empathy. Acknowledge your parents’ concerns and feelings, and assure them that your goal is to help them maintain their independence and well-being.

Start by actively listening to their position. Understanding their reasons for not wanting help can help you tailor your approach and address their specific concerns. Offer reassurance that accepting assistance does not equate to losing control, but rather enhances their ability to live comfortably and safely at home.

Compromising is often a great way to reach agreement with your parents. For example, if the idea of having help with baths or showers is off-putting, introduce the idea of assistance with running errands, housekeeping, and meal preparation. When they feel comfortable and trust their caregiver with these types of less-intimidating services, it’s easier to work your way up to additional care.

If your parents continue to remain resistant, consider enlisting the help of a trusted third party, like a healthcare professional. Sometimes, hearing advice from an objective expert can carry more weight than coming from a relative.

Most importantly, remember that change doesn’t happen overnight. It may require multiple conversations and gentle persuasion before your parents feel okay with accepting help. When aging parents reject assistance, be persistent yet compassionate, and always prioritize their feelings and wishes.

At CareWorks Health Services, we’ve helped many older adults live fuller and more enriching lives at home, and we are here to help your parents whenever they are ready, with tailored in-home care solutions in Huntington Beach, Laguna Woods, Mission Viejo, and the surrounding areas. We offer a complimentary in-home consultation to help you and your parents talk through the services that will best meet their needs. Contact us online or call us any time at (949) 859-4700.