What To Do When Your Elderly Parent Refuses Help

How would you react if your elderly parents refused to accept help from you or anyone else? Would you try to persuade them to change their mind? Or would you simply let them go their way?

What To Do When Your Elderly Parent Refuses Help

Elderly care has become a major issue in recent years. The number of older adults in the U.S. is expected to double by 2050, and the cost of caring for them is projected to rise to $1 trillion annually by 2030.

It is important to remember that every person is unique and no two situations are alike. In some instances, it might be better to let someone live out his/her life without assistance.

However, in other circumstances, it might be necessary to step in and provide support. In this article, we look at the steps you should take when an elderly parent refuses help and what you can do to encourage them to take the help that they deserve. 

Why Do Elderly Parents Refuse Help?

One of the most common reasons why people refuse help is because they feel that they don’t need it, or are refusing to accept that they need it. They believe that they don’t need any more help than they already receive. 

This attitude is understandable, but it doesn’t mean that they are right. It is true that many of us have been able to accomplish much on our own and this applies to elderly parents too, but there are also many things that we cannot do alone.

For example, if you were unable to walk on your own, you would probably want someone to assist you. Similarly, if you were unable to handle money, you would probably want to hire someone to manage your finances or rely on your son or daughter.

The reason refusing help is so common is that it often leads to unnecessary suffering. If you think about it, how would you like to be dependent on others all day long?

You wouldn’t enjoy it, would you? It can also make elderly parents feel a loss of identity, especially as certain aspects of society now frame getting old as negative and undesirable.

When they accept help, your elderly parent could be afraid of falling into this category. They might start to feel frustrated, misunderstood, and helpless, and their sense of pride is becoming threatened.

For this reason, children must approach their elderly parents with validation and reassurance. They need to know that, despite the fact that they might be experiencing disabilities or changes in their mobility, they are always important and always worthy.

With this understanding in mind, you will be on your way to communicating with your elderly parent much better.

When an elderly person refuses help, he/she may be feeling embarrassed, ashamed, or guilty. These feelings can lead to depression and anxiety. If you notice that your elderly parent is depressed or anxious, it’s more important that you keep encouraging them to accept.

The good news is that there are ways to make sure that your elderly parent gets the help they need, even if your elderly parents refuse it. We will discuss these options in detail below.

Steps To Take When An Elderly Parent Refuses Assistance

If you find yourself in such a situation, the first thing you should do is to understand where your elderly parent stands. Are they ready to accept help? What are their needs? Is it time to move forward with planning? There are several questions that you must ask yourself before taking action.

If you decide that your elderly parent is not willing to accept help, then you may need to consider whether you should continue helping him/her or not.

Many people believe that they owe their parents something and that they should always be available to help them. This is not necessarily wrong, but it may not be helpful either. 

The best way to deal with this issue is to talk to your elderly parent about it and assess whether or not they need your help, or if they are refusing help out of pride. If they do need your help after evaluation but are still refusing, move on to the next steps.

You need to assess your parent’s situation when they are refusing help. Knowing what they can do for themselves, their mental health situation, and more can help you prioritize your concerns and can help you initiate the conversations you have around help with them.

You can manipulate your words to align with what motivates how they behave.

You should also focus on the positives of providing care to your parents. Approach the conversation from a place of positivity and without pointing out their limitations, focus on what matters to them and their values.

Remind them that they can continue to do the activities they love, continue seeing friends and continue to be independent; you will just be a source of companionship to lend a helping hand along the way.

You can also try to encourage your elderly parent to accept assistance by listing what you will be helping with.

You can offer to help them in any number of areas including the suggestions below, and remind them that these are just simple tasks that could be lifted off their shoulders. You are not taking away their independence.

• grocery shopping

• laundry

• cooking meals

• cleaning house

• paying bills

• managing money

• doing errands

• transportation

• medication management

Finally, you can even turn the whole conversation and focus it on yourself. Remember, you are their kids and often parents will do anything for their kids.

What To Do When Your Elderly Parent Refuses Help (1)

Re-frame the conversation and explain how worried you are about them.

Tell them how stressed you are because they are refusing help and since many parents don’t like the idea of being a burden on their children and making them stressed, they might agree to some help.

If all else fails, you can always turn to professional help. These professionals can persuade your elderly parents and tell them how necessary help is for their health.

Enlisting the community can reinforce how much your parents matter to you, and they will be able to see how much you care for them, eventually agreeing to receive some help.

Final Thoughts

We hope after reading this article you understand why your elderly parent refuses help. We also hope you now know what to do if you find yourself in such a situation.

Hopefully, this will give you the confidence to approach your elderly parent and discuss this topic. 

Good luck, and remember you are caring for them out of love! No matter how hard it is for them to accept help, keep going with it, as in the end, you are helping them live a happier and healthier life.

Eddie Lamb