How to Talk to Aging Parents Who Don’t Want Help
Having an aging parent can be challenging enough. However, when that aging parent doesn’t want to get the help they need to be successful, then it can be even more challenging. There are many seniors who find themselves in the same situation every single day. Perhaps these seniors want to maintain their independence, perhaps they don’t see that they need help, or they may not want to inconvenience anyone. No matter what the situation, when aging parents don’t want help, it is important that you take the time to talk to them and really try to persuade them to get the help they need or deserve.
Here are some tips on how to talk to parents who are refusing help.
- Talk to your parent like an adult. Do not infantize them or treat them like a child.
- Set goals or milestones for your parents. Encourage them to stay healthy for big events such as anniversaries, weddings or graduations. You can also encourage them to stay healthy for great-grandchildren or other milestones.
- Be understanding. Many times, seniors have a reason for not wanting help. It may not be a reason that you agree with, but the more you can try to put yourself in their shoes the better.
- Understand that they may be afraid. There are many seniors who simply don’t want help because of fear. It is normal to be afraid of aging or afraid of needing someone else to care for you.
- Put the focus on you. There are many seniors who don’t want care because they don’t want to inconvenience others. If you are worried this is how your senior feels, then you may want to flip it around and say “this will make me feel better,” or “you don’t want me to spend every day worrying about you, do you?” Many times, seniors won’t want to change their attitude or behavior for themselves, but they may change for others.
- Don’t forget to stress the severity of the situation. Many seniors simply refuse help because they don’t think they need it. If the situation is really serious and the problem is an actual safety issue, address it. Don’t just blow it off if they don’t want help. Tell them your concerns, and be honest about how important you think care is.
- Don’t let emotions get in the way. It can be easy to go into a discussion saying you are going to have your parents make a certain change or start thinking a certain way, and then once they get upset, it can be easy to fold because you don’t want to see them sad or angry. Stick to your guns and don’t forget that this is what is best for them.
No matter what type of help they may need, when aging parents don’t want assistance, it can be very difficult, not only on the parent but on the entire family. Keep these communication tips in mind when you speak with your parents, it may just be the persuading that they need in order to get the help and care that they deserve.
- Lori Thomas has decades of experience as a caregiver. Her writing for SeniorAdvice.com is informed by years of research as well as hands-on family experience caring for her now late mother, who had chronic health issues for most of her life. Lori is an integral part of the SeniorAdvice.com management team, acting as Vice President of Marketing and Chief Editor.
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