How to Deal with an Elderly Loved One That Refuses Outside Help

Supporting an elderly loved one results in a vast array of challenges. Eventually, you may come to a point in the process where you feel as if they may benefit from outside assistance – be it a housekeeper, someone to assist in medication management, or in activities of daily living.

Despite being a bit stubborn or even a tad irritational, the situation is not considered to be hopeless. In this guide, we will offer a few effective strategies on discussing care needs with your elderly loved one. 

Start with Your Loved One’s Concerns

It is a known fact that aging is one of the most difficult of all experiences that each of us will face within our lifetime. When you discuss care options with your loved one, you are likely coming from a place where you are concerned about their safety and well-being.

An elderly loved one’s top priority is – likely – maintaining their independence. By putting their independence in perspective, you could explain that the additional assistance could help them retain their level of autonomy. 

Your Loved One Has a Right to Make Their Own Decisions

You should always avoid suggesting help in areas where your loved one is capable. For example, if it is difficult for them to maintain their lawn, but they are still capable of keeping house, do not recommend a housekeeper – only recommend lawn maintenance.

Yes, it is true that you have their best interests in mind and at heart, but they are adults and have a right to control their life. They are still able to make decisions – even though you may not think they are the best of decisions. 

The only exception to this is when your loved one has a form of dementia. In this case, the individual that has durable power of attorney or guardianship over the individual is responsible for making the decisions. In this case, it is still appropriate to discuss the care options that are available to them.

While it is true that they may refuse and they may not want any assistance, if you are the legal representative of the individual – either you hold durable power or attorney or are their guardian – you hold the legal right to make decisions for them. Treat them like an adult and show them respect in the process, though. 

Stay Calm 

The truth of the matter is, today’s older adults were raised to be self-sufficient and independent. When you make the recommendation for assistance, it is likely that they will have strong opinions against it.

Remember, additional help may be viewed as just that by you – an extra set of helping hands. However, to an elderly adult, it may seem as if you are trying to change their lifestyle.

If either of you get upset, the discussion will be counterproductive. Simply stay calm while discussing additional care options. 

Ask, Don’t Tell 

If all else fails, simply ask your elderly loved one to accept the help for you. If they consistently refuse, explain how it affects you directly. Communicate in a clear and precise fashion that you are worried and it makes you anxious. Explain that their accepting assistance will be a huge relief to you. In many instances, your loved one’s love for you will motivate them to accept help. They want to please you and will likely be more willing to be more open to care options. 

Contact Us 

If the mobility and health of your loved one reaches a point of concern, you may have to make the decision to place them in assisted living or a nursing home. In some instances, memory care may be required. Regardless, we here at Beacon Senior Advisors are standing by and willing to help you – not just in discussing options with your loved one, but pinpointing locations that are best suited for their individual needs. If you require caring, compassionate, and comprehensive assistance, please call and inquire about our free program designed to help at: 973-713-0096

Recent Posts