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Is Your Senior Loved One Being Resistant to Assistance?

By Mike Clark

If you have senior parents at some point or another you will most likely need to help them take good care of themselves and help make wise decisions regarding their care. Unfortunately many times this is not perceived as helpful by senior loved ones and you may be met with resistance. The main goal is and should always be to keep your seniors safe and healthy while maintaining as much of their independence as possible. It is hard for seniors to relinquish parts of their independence as they age, even if it is for their own safety, so be patient and understand that this is hard on them as well. 

The best time to discuss their wishes for care is before they actually need assistance, but for most of us, the conversation doesn’t happen until something makes us have this discussion. They have either fallen, had a fender bender, or something else that makes us be more concerned about their safety, health, or finances. Having the first conversation at this point only adds to the stress of the situation. Discussing their care is an uncomfortable conversation and most of us just don’t want to think of our parents getting older and less independent. The sooner you discuss with them what their wishes are as they continue to age the better they will be cared for and more accepting they will be when the time comes for them to receive assistance.

Here are a few tips to help you while having these discussions:

  • Don’t judge but listen – Make sure you are attentive and actively listening to what your parents are telling you. Don’t interrupt them when they are sharing their opinion. Try to discuss things with them and if possible let them come to the conclusion that they need additional care and assistance on their own. These conversations can sometimes take time, make sure you remain patient and try not to rush them.
  • Don’t take it personally – It’s easy for us to get defensive during these discussions of adding care or a higher level of care to your parent’s daily routine.  Don’t be argumentative or angry while discussing their care but rather be calm and caring.
  • Try to see the situation from their perspective rather than your own – Of course, you would handle things differently if you were in their position, right?  Remember that when you get their age and are having the same discussion with your children.  By putting yourself in their shoes maybe you can gain insight into where they are coming from.
  • Stay on point and focused – If your parent is good at resisting care and advice then they are probably good at deflection and distracting as well. They may want to change the subject and discuss other things instead of staying on topic. Stay calm and bring the discussion back to their well-being and the care that they need. Guide them to a discussion of what they want to be able to continue to do and what level of independence they can continue to have.
  • Prioritize their care needs – Solve the most life-threatening issues first. This way your parent will be able to see a successful solution to their care needs.  This way you can move on to other areas of concern and even be able to see a successful path to additional care that is not only necessary but wanted by them.
  • Don’t use threats or ultimatums – Keep your discussion positive and upbeat, if things start getting a little tense you may want to take a break or have a snack.  Although it is tempting to use threats and ultimatums, they are not productive when discussing their care. Remember the goal is to provide them with the best care to keep them as independent as possible for as long as you can.

Keep them involved – Make sure you keep them involved in the decision-making process. Ask them for ideas and even have a brainstorming session with them on some good ideas for their care.

Sometimes the best solution is to continue the conversation later.

If your senior has shown nothing but resistance to the conversation to needing care then distract them by changing the conversation to another topic or current events.  Come back to the conversation later in the day or the next morning after they have calmed down and had a chance to reflect on what they really need and want to help them remain independent. There is no clear recipe for dealing with a senior resistant to assistance. Just remember to stay calm and be patient, and if needed involve a third party that is just as concerned for their care.

Dwell at Home is bringing in-home senior care into the palm of your hand with a mobile application that values convenience, personalized mentorship, and trust.  You can download the app in the Apple App store today by clicking here!

Dwell at Home is not a licensed medical professional and all information provided is provided “as is” with no warranties. You should consult a licensed physician for any questions related to your health.  Dwell at Home makes no guarantee about any application or third-party website mentioned in any article on this website