What to do When an Elderly Parent Refuses Help

Our friends at Helping Hands offer tips on how to support parents who refuse help…

While none of us have the right to tell someone else how to live their life, when we feel that a loved one could benefit from additional help but is resisting that help, it can be difficult. The reasons that they’re resisting will be personal to them and possibly complex, however they may include feeling they don’t need help or not wanting strangers in their home. This isn’t because they’re ‘being difficult’, there’s obviously some reason that they’re not happy with what’s being proposed, and as their loved ones it’s our job to work out what that is.

How to Proceed if a Parent Refuses Help

It’s vital that we step inside the world of the person who needs help, and we try to see things through their eyes. Ideally, the conversation about possible future care needs should be had way in advance of when care actually needs to be sourced, so that everyone is on the same page and knows what each other’s feelings are about it.

Make a Rational Diagnosis

Your parents have the right to decide what support to accept, and they may feel that they’re being forced to accept a situation that they’re not happy with. The issue of care should be approached slowly whenever possible; however sometimes the luxury of time isn’t an option. If your loved one needs care quickly, then stress and frustration will be influencing everyone’s moods. Talk to your parent and ask them what their concerns are; perhaps they’re worried about preserving their dignity in front of a stranger or feel they’re going to lose their independence.

Try to Understand Their Fears

As we get older, it’s perfectly natural that – while we may feel physically older – emotionally we’re still young and able. If your loved one has always lived independently, they may feel offended that it’s being suggested they can no longer manage, and this can lead to tension and frustration on both sides.

Give Them Back Control

Preserving a person’s independence is so important when you’re providing care for them at home; encouraging them to still undertake aspects of their daily routine if they want to is an important part of person-centred care. Just because someone is coming to your parents’ home to support them with certain aspects of their life doesn’t mean that they have to become passive in their care. Try to make sure that their support plan includes everything they like to do. By taking the time to discover ways to include them in their daily routine – for instance preparing food together or making sure they can undertake aspects of their personal care – it’s possible to reduce the concern they have. Starting slowly is always the best option, perhaps by fitting a device in their home that can alert someone for instance, which ensures they are kept safe while feeling that their home is still their own.

Be Aware of the Stigma Around Elderly Care

While it may feel as if going ahead and purchasing a device or signing your parent up to a care service is being helpful, to them it will probably feel as if you’re taking their independence away, and the feeling that can instil in someone should never be underestimated. Being considered ‘elderly’ and ‘unable to cope’ may be the one thing that the parent has always feared happening in their life since before their child was born, and now they see the person they trust to keep them safe making their biggest fears a reality. From the child’s point of view this may come across as the parent ‘being difficult’ and ‘refusing help’, so they also need to tread carefully. Pendant devices for instance, may be something the parent associates with ‘old’ people and they may reject the idea, not wanting their perceived vulnerability to be obvious to other people. This may even lead to further isolation, where they avoid socialising because they don’t want others to consider them vulnerable. There are solutions though, such as voice-activated alarm systems, and ‘emergency’ buttons on mobile phones, that may offer the same level of support without the visible reminder that it’s there.

Have a Realistic Outlook

Panicking twenty-four-seven that your parent is going to have a fall or other accident is understandable, but it’s not going to help either youorthem to live your best quality of life. You, because you’ll be preoccupied and stressed all the time, and them, because you’ll risk stifling through over-protectiveness, and consequently end up restricting their independence. We all want to keep our loved ones safe, however making everyone miserable at the same time is no solution. If you live some distance from your parents and worry how they’re managing day-to-day, then see if there’s a neighbour or close friend who can pop in regularly and let you know how they’re getting on. Even just giving your number to them as reassurance may be enough to let you get a good night’s sleep again.

Accept That Some Carers May Not Be Appropriate

Perhaps your parent is anxious about the kind of person they’ll be having coming into their home, thinking they’ll be someone they have nothing in common with. After all, it’s difficult for some people to imagine a stranger coming into their home, especially if they’re going to undertake personal tasks for them.

Care Options for Elderly Parents

When care is going to be needed, there are many options available that people may not even be aware of. Perhaps your parents are so against having care because they feel they’ll end up in a nursing home, however that need never be the case. By choosinglive-incare, your loved one can retain control of their everyday routine, choosing to eat when they wish, get out of bed when they want to, and everything else that matters to them. This type of 1-2-1 care you get in your own home on either a visiting or live-in basis might br a solution that can work for everyone.

Helping Hands

With over 30 years' experience providing individually tailored home care across England and Wales, Helping Hands offer expert support at home ranging from 30-minute visits up to full-time live-in care. And if you need fast-response support, Helping Hands can often begin your bespoke care plan within 24 hours of your initial enquiry.

For more information, please call 0808 163 9755 or visitwww.helpinghands.co.uk