The Elite Collection

What to Do When Aging Parents Refuse Help

If your loved one is living independently and doing their best to keep up with household tasks and personal care, they may not want to admit when they need help. In fact, seniors may refuse any help or advice from their children or other family members. Before putting the pressure on to convince or force them to accept help, it’s important to try to understand your parent’s motivations.

Getting older can be scary, especially when a person’s sense of pride and control over their future is threatened. Furthermore, if they’re experiencing even mild cognitive difficulties or memory loss, they might feel confused, frustrated, helpless or misunderstood. When adult children suggest that a parent needs help, the parent may feel like they’re being told they are incapable of taking care of themselves, which may cause them to react with denial, stubbornness and refusal to accept help.

So what can you do when your aging parents refuse the help they need? Here are some steps you can take to prepare everyone involved for the important decisions ahead:

Evaluate Your Parent’s Situation

The difficulties of aging in place at home may be compounded by a decline in mental or physical abilities. As a concerned family member, your focus tends to be on how their declining abilities increase the risks for falling, forgetting medications, missing meals, etc. At the same time, it’s important to consider your parent’s abilities, including the tasks they’re still able to do well. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses can help identify where help is needed without overlooking the areas where they thrive.

Take Tours of Possible Communities

Start looking at Assisted Living options and think about how close or far your loved one will be from family members and friends who will visit most or who will be available in case of an emergency. Compare the costs, services, levels of care and amenities offered at different communities. During your search, consider the culture and social atmosphere at each location. You’ll want to find a community where your loved one will feel comfortable — as well as one that best suits their needs. Read more in our blog about tips for touring senior living communities.

Choose the Right Time to Talk

It’s helpful to choose the right time and approach the conversation about moving to Assisted Living from a point of positivity. Avoid bringing up the topic in direct response to a recent problem or during an already heated discussion. Instead, start the conversation at a time when everyone is calm and in a place where there are minimal distractions or stressors in the background.

Focus on the Benefits

An Assisted Living community offers all the comforts of home and the extra help your loved one needs, without the burdens of maintaining a home and bringing in home health care services. In addition to meal preparation and help with activities of daily living, Assisted Living communities may offer housekeeping and laundry services, medication management, transportation to off-site appointments and more. A full schedule of social events, exercise classes and enrichment activities provide opportunities to stay active and connect with others.

Prioritize What Matters Most to Your Parent

Sometimes it helps to put yourself in your parent’s shoes and try to understand the fears and worries they have about getting older and needing help. Listen to the concerns they have and appeal to the values that matter most to them, such as maintaining independence, self-reliance, respect, dignity and having a purpose in life.

Emphasize How They’ll Maintain Independence

Older adults sometimes equate moving into Assisted Living with “giving up” on living independently. However, the opposite is true, because Assisted Living provides the right level of support so they can maintain independence as long as possible. You can reinforce the idea that Assisted Living provides flexibility to get help only where needed, which ultimately helps older adults maintain independence so they can focus on doing the things they enjoy. It also gives them more control over the way they want to live, without having to lean on help from family members in the future.

Explore the Advantages of Assisted Living with The Élite Collection Communities

Making the decision to move into an Assisted Living community, like one of The Élite Collection communities, can help your loved one remain more independent and help them lead a more fulfilling life. Our communities provide an upscale experience in senior living with the security of assistance available 24/7. If you’re ready to take the next step and learn more about our exceptional Assisted Living communities, please contact us to request more information.

March 14, 2023


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