Your parents move more slowly every day. You worry your parent might fall and break a hip, burn meals, or forget to pay the bills. But your elderly parent refuses help.
When your parents won’t make lifestyle changes or get some necessary assistance, what do you do? It can feel as if the only two choices are to keep nagging your parent to make changes, or to step back until an accident happens. But you can try several options before you give up entirely.
Read on for ideas on how to deal with aging parents who refuse help.
Make Yourself an Ally, Not an Adversary
Aging parents have much to fear as they grow older. It’s hard for them to accept that they can’t do as much as they used to do. You and your parent might also struggle with role reversal, with you trying to take care of a parent who’s spent a lifetime taking care of you.
Don’t try to persuade your parents with facts and logic. Even parents who understand that they’re aging fear that getting help will start the process of losing control. When you’re dealing with such deep emotions, you won’t be able to reach them by giving them statistics about in-home injuries.
Instead of making yourself the adversary who’s trying to argue the parent into submission, remember that old age is the real adversary. Show empathy for your parent’s reluctance, and give credit for all that your parent is still able to do. Try to let the parent keep control of the process.
Ask Your Parent to Help Relieve Your Own Worries
If you tell your parents that your worrying has become a burden, your parents might be more willing to accept some help. After all, your parents have always tried to take care of you. Framing your concerns this way might persuade your parents to take small steps such as trying in-home help for a few hours every week.
Help Your Parent Get More Free Time
If your parent has passions to pursue, point out that getting some help will allow your parent to spend more time on favorite activities. A parent who enjoys visiting with friends or playing golf might allow somebody to come in and scrub toilets. Be creative in thinking about what kinds of help you can find.
Provide Alternatives to Assisted Living
If your parent needs elderly care that goes beyond intermittent home visits, you can find alternatives to assisted living that will keep your parent both safe and emotionally connected. For instance, you can look for an adult daycare where your parent can socialize and engage in activities. These facilities have professionals trained to care for the elderly, so your parent will be monitored at the same time.
Even if Your Elderly Parent Refuses Help, Don’t Give Up
If your elderly parent refuses help after you’ve tried everything, you might need to take a break and step gracefully away from the situation. Ultimately, you can’t change your parent’s mind. Instead, keep showing love and support, and wait for the next opportunity to reach your parents and suggest getting help.
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