Aging is a natural part of life; it’s also natural for seniors to need help and support with everyday lives. Unfortunately, many elderly people refuse to acknowledge that they may need a little extra help. Whether it’s needing assistance with personal care, such as bathing, needing help with transportation or even medication reminders; it is common for elderly adults to avoid asking for help. Encouraging elderly adults to get outside help is actually one of the most common and difficult challenges that adult children face. While it may be apparent to you that they need help with their everyday lives, it’s often times not so apparent to them. If your elderly parents need support but are refusing help for their care, here are a few tips to approach your elderly parents if they are refusing the help they need.
One of the most important things you can do to make the conversation easier, is to ask questions and validate your elderly loved one's feelings. For instance, ask if their concern is about the cost of the care, losing their independence, a lack of privacy or having a stranger in their home. Not only is it important to listen to their concerns, but to validate their feelings as well. Even if your parent is experiencing cognitive issues, validating their concerns and emotions will help to reduce their stress. Try to understand their emotions; if necessary, invite someone who is experienced with addressing aging issues to have a conversation with you and your parents together.
Making threats or restricting their options will not prevent them from refusing help. For many elderly adults, the thought of in-home care or assisted living feels as though their independence is being lost, which will make them continue to refuse help. By providing options, you will be showing them that their opinions matter and that they are still able to make independent decisions. For instance, when scheduling an appointment for them to talk with in-care providers, ask your parents what date and time they prefer. If their concerns are that in-home care may prevent them from activities they enjoy, explain that the in-home care provider isn’t there to tell them what to do, they are there as a companion. Make sure to include your parents in all interviews and final decisions.
Discuss the Issues
Simply telling your parents that they need care is going to convince them. Instead, discuss the issues you are concerned about. For instance, if you are concerned that they may get injured getting in or out of the shower, explain your concerns about their safety to them. Be open and honest about why you feel they need care and ask them to be honest about their struggles. For instance, does your aging mother insist that vacuuming be done weekly, but she is unable to carry the vacuum cleaner up and down the stairs, explain that in-home care providers will not prevent her from weekly chores; in fact, they will help ensure they are completed.
In many situations, starting off small is the best option. For instance, encourage your parents to consider an in-home care provider coming to their home once every two-week’s, then gradually suggest expanding the number of visits. If they are continuing to refuse care, consider getting outside help. For instance, accompany your parent to their next doctor’s appointment and ask the doctor their opinion about your parent’s need for extra help.
To learn more information about in-home care services or for more information about talking to your elderly parents about the need for care, contact Meridian Care Services.