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What to Do When anAging Parent Refuses Help?

Updated: Nov 3, 2023


They say there’s little difference between an aging parent and a toddler: both need to be taken care of.


The differentiating point is that you can make your toddler listen to you. For a parent who’s spent all their lives guiding others and being in full control, it’s hard to accept they need help.


As a loving child, the situation seems daunting to you, especially if your parent recently had an unfortunate slip and fall accident or is starting to forget things.

You suggest in-house care or assisted living setting with their best interest at heart, only to get rebuked.


None of you is wrong. However, there might be some reasons why your parent is refusing help. Understanding where they are coming from is the first step to making the right decision.


Understand Why Your Parent Is Refusing

According to a study conducted at Penn State University, 77% of adult children believe that their parents are stubborn to take any help or advice from their kids.


While this is a massive percentage, the reason behind this behavior can be anything. For starters, aging IS scary.


Just the realization that you no longer possess the control, health, or physical state you were proud of in your youth is enough to render anyone averse to accepting reality. As a result, it instills stubborn behavior, with the addition of refusing even the slightest help.


What Are My Options to Help My Parent?


1#Empathize with Them

Before you start making any suggestions, put yourself in your parent’s shoes. Aging and mental health declination have a distinct connection, but it takes effort to recognize what your parent is going through.


2#Give Options

Instead of deciding to move your parent yourself or hiring house help for them, give them control. Doing this can help them feel they have the freedom to choose what’s best for them.


However, while giving them the suggestions, keep their well-being in mind so if they decide on one option, it benefits them the way you intended.


3#Start Small

You want nothing more than to help your aging parent navigate life and enjoy their time. But instead of hiring full-time help that your parents may become averse to, take baby steps.


For example, hire in-home care services twice a week. Another option is accompanying your parent to the grocery store when you can. You can also drop them at a social activity on your way out, so they don’t have to drive on their own.

Taking these steps can make your parents feel loved and appreciate your helping hand. This also makes way to slowly adapt their lifestyle instead of overwhelming your parent with sudden lifestyle changes.


Remember: your parent’s habits and living style have been ingrained since their youth. So, respecting their boundaries is crucial.


4#Accept the Situation

Repeated arguments, counterarguments, and disagreements don’t serve any good. If anything, you may end up hurting your parent’s feelings or making them feel they are dependent on the choices you make for them.


As a result, it can influence your relationship with your aging parents. So, here’s a fact: it’s NOT a battle.


Acceptance is key to avoiding such a situation from occurring in the first place. As hard as it may seem, accepting that your parent is refusing any help can lower your stress and make you build on your relationship with them.


What Next?

You’ve done everything possible in your power to help your parent, suggest home care services, or even offer to assist them in house chores. And yet, they don’t listen. As stressful as it is, your parents are adults.


The best thing here is to give them time.


Sooner or later, they may realize your intentions were in their favor. And even if they don’t, tell them you’ll be there, always.


Meanwhile, continue enjoying your time with your parents. After all, You Only Live Once.


Like you, we at Grand Rapids Elderly Care have people’s best interest. So, if you ever feel like finding a better option for in-home care or an assisted living facility for your parents, we can help you free of charge.

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