What to do when your elderly parent refuses help?

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You have likely found yourself in the position of pleading with your aging parents to accept assistance, whether it’s with daily tasks like cooking, cleaning, or transportation. Despite your best efforts, they stubbornly insist they are managing just fine. While some might label this behaviour as denial, a deeper understanding reveals a complex array of emotions that come with acknowledging the need for additional care as we grow older.

As adult children, it can be an emotionally challenging and stressful experience when our elderly parents refuse the help they need. Whether it is due to pride, stubbornness, or a desire to maintain their independence, navigating this delicate situation requires patience, compassion, and a strategic approach. To facilitate constructive and nurturing discussions concerning the care of your senior loved one, we offer a range of proven strategies.

Here are some actions you can take when encountering resistance from an elderly parent or cherished family member who needs essential home care.

happy elderly parent with proper care service

Listen to the reasons why they resist help

According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, The majority of older Australians live independently at home, and one in four people aged 85 years or over live in care accommodation. More than one in four Australians are living below the poverty line. Individuals aged 65 and above comprise seven per cent of the homeless population.

Based on this data, it is crucial to approach the issue with sensitivity and respect and explore alternative solutions, such as In-home assistance or community resources. Effective communication, empathy, and patience are key in navigating this delicate situation and ensuring the well-being of the elderly parent while honouring their desire for independence.

Some common reasons why the elderly refuse help include-

  • Fear of losing independence: Your parent or relative may resist care due to the fear of losing their autonomy and ability to make decisions independently.
  • Feeling like a burden: They might refuse care because they don’t want to impose on others or feel like they’re burdening their family members or caregivers.
  • Concerns about having a stranger in their home: Some seniors may be hesitant to accept help because they are uncomfortable with the idea of unfamiliar individuals entering their personal space.
  • Deeply-held worries about their circumstances: Your elderly parent may harbour deep-seated fears about their situation, particularly regarding the possibility of losing their home or being placed in residential care.

Accept the situation and Implement Strategies

When faced with a situation where your elderly parent refuses the needed care, it’s important to introduce options gradually. Begin with small steps, such as arranging for an aide to assist with household tasks a couple of days a week or offering assistance with errands like driving or grocery shopping. This gradual approach allows your parent to acclimate more comfortably and may increase their receptiveness to additional support.

Avoid making sudden, drastic changes to their lifestyle, as this can cause distress and discomfort. Instead, gently introduce the idea of receiving help, demonstrating your respect for their boundaries and desire for independence. By gradually convincing your parent to embrace the care they need, you can facilitate positive changes without overwhelming them.

Respect Boundaries

While it’s important to advocate for your parent’s well-being, it’s equally essential to respect their autonomy and personal boundaries. Avoid imposing solutions or making decisions without their input, and strive to collaborate with them in finding mutually acceptable solutions. Empower your parent to participate in decision-making regarding their care by providing them with information and options. Encourage them to express their preferences and concerns and involve them in planning and implementing solutions.

Encourage a Positive Perspective

When addressing your elderly parent who may refuse help, adopt a positive approach. Instead of dwelling on limitations, emphasise their values and what matters most to them. If independence is crucial, assure them that accepting occasional assistance can actually preserve their autonomy and enable them to continue cherished activities. When discussing care options, reassure them that caregivers offer companionship rather than limitation, enhancing their quality of life.

Offering choices

is crucial when assisting your parent in making care decisions, as it empowers them to feel involved and valued in the process. However, it’s essential to establish clear boundaries while considering their needs for assistance. Ensure that each option presented addresses the specific care they require, whether it’s in-home support, assisted living arrangements, or other forms of care. By involving your stubborn parent in the decision-making process, you can help them understand the importance of receiving the necessary care while respecting their autonomy.

educating old parents with the available home care options

Educate and explore Available Home Care Options

The Australian Federal Government has been providing subsidies for aged care services since 1963, and these services have evolved into various programs. These services cater to various needs, including dementia, cognitive diseases, care requirements, and the needs of elderly parents. The Australian Government regulates the maximum costs that clients are required to pay and subsidises a range of services. Currently, the following aged care services are available in Australia:

  1. Home Care Packages (HCP): HCP focuses on assisting individuals in maintaining their independence and living in their own homes and communities for as long as possible. This helps prevent premature or unsuitable admission to permanent residential aged care.
  2. Residential Aged Care (RAC): RAC services consist of two types of programs: permanent residential aged care (PRAC) and respite residential care (RRC). PRAC offers government-subsidised institutional, residential aged care services for individuals who are not managing well at home. The government allocates funding based on means-tested income fees for these services.
  3. Transition Care (TC): TC provides short-term care for older people who are discharged from the hospital or those who have accessed or are eligible for low-level PRAC. The aim of TC is to support individuals during the transition period, aiding in recovery from illness, improving functionality and independence, and delaying or avoiding entry into PRAC.

For instance, if your parent expresses worry about having a stranger in their home, reassure them by explaining the process of introducing the Caregiver before the commencement of services. By facilitating a meeting between your parent and the caregiver beforehand, you can alleviate their anxiety and foster a sense of familiarity and trust, making the transition to receiving care much smoother and more comfortable for your loved one.

Seek Support from Trusted Individuals

Sometimes, it requires gentle encouragement to persuade an elderly parent who refuses help to reconsider their stance. If you’re encountering challenges convincing a senior loved one about the necessity of assistance at home, consider involving individuals they trust to continue the dialogue on your behalf. This could involve reaching out to a family member, close friend, or healthcare professional whom your parent holds in high regard.

Many home care organisations like Wise Choice offer complimentary consultations, providing an opportunity for seniors to meet with professionals to discuss their situation and receive personalised recommendations. This approach ensures that your elderly parent receives the support they need while respecting their autonomy and preferences.

Make It About You

Sometimes, it may seem counterintuitive, but let me explain why making the conversation about you can be effective. Instead of trying to convince your elderly parents to seek help for themselves, consider reframing the discussion to focus on how their actions impact you. As their child, you genuinely worry about their well-being, and the constant concerns have started to weigh heavily on you and your siblings. It’s essential to communicate that you don’t want them to feel like a burden or a source of trouble for their children.

By gently explaining how their refusal to accept help affects you, such as the stress and anxieties it causes or the potential risks to their grandchildren from unhealthy habits like smoking, you can appeal to their empathy. It’s natural to feel concerned about your parents as they age, but most parents wouldn’t want their children to carry this weight of worry. By making it about your needs and the impact on your life (and your siblings’ lives, if applicable), you can help them understand the importance of accepting assistance for their care needs.

It’s natural for your parent to resist help, but their well-being shouldn’t be compromised. We offer a compassionate approach that empowers your parent’s physical and emotional needs. Take the first step towards a healthier and happier future by choosing Wise Choice for In-home care solutions.

Get In Touch With The Experts

When faced with the difficult situation of an elderly parent who refuses much-needed help, remember that you’re not alone! It can be challenging and emotionally taxing, but there is a way forward. One essential step is to get in touch with the experts. Reach out to professionals specialising in elder care, such as Aged care managers or social workers, with extensive experience and knowledge in navigating these complex circumstances.

Wise Choice In-Home Services understands the delicate balance of respecting your parents’ autonomy while ensuring their health and safety. With our assistance, you can explore different strategies and approaches to help your parent understand the importance of accepting the care they require. Remember, seeking expert help is not a sign of defeat but a proactive and compassionate step towards ensuring the well-being of your parent.

We recognise that every parent has different care requirements. Our in-home services are customised to address their specific needs, ensuring they receive the support they deserve. Let us provide the tailored care solutions that your parent needs.

Contact us today!

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