What can I do, mom/dad needs helps, but refuses

This past week I encountered two different families having issues with their parents to agree to home modifications and in-home help. 

Unfortunately, it is a common occurrence in the senior community to refuse help or even make changes for that matter. If someone has lived 60+ years independently and well (in their eyes); they see no need to make changes. As a Geriatric Care Manager, I often have patient’s family, friends, and caregivers to ask; “What do you when she/he Refuse Help?”

The biggest concept to understand, is that everyone wants to keep their independence. We spend a quarter of our lives yearning for it, get it, live with it, and then we turn into our 60+ years and enjoying retirement; and someone wants to come along and take it away. So, accepting help means that their independence is disappearing. By definition per Merriam-Webster, independence, is defined as the quality or state of not being under the control of, reliant on, or connected with someone or something else; when I read this definition the first word I thought of was “FREE!” Free to do as I please, how I please, and when I please. Subsequently, I hope this gives more insight to try to understand the motivation behind their behavior.


Then ask yourself, are they acting this way out of habit? Many of us are stubborn in our younger years and it continues on throughout our lives. This may be the same for your loved one. Therefore, this behavior will carry on and in all my years, have only see this change, when the person was ready to or a compromise was made. 


On the other hand, you may have to consider whether they’re depressed, anxious, or confused? People living with depression have a hard time seeing that they deserve help. If your loved one previously suffered from anxiety, then they may be declining help because they are afraid of the unknown. If they are confused, they do not understand why the help the is needed.


As a family member, friend, or caregiver you will have to decide how important the matter is. Is it a safety issue? If yes, then you may have to consider a family meeting and asking for providers to “write an order” or recommend your ideas, to help “justify” your thoughts. If it something that is just irritating but inconsequential; you need to consider your motives; remember the saying, “pick your battles”.


Consider, blaming it on the grand-kids. You know sometimes children have the best way of convincing adults we have to or need to do something or have something.


Think ahead. Is there a milestone they want to be around for, such as a wedding, graduation or anniversary? Then bring it up! The power of persuasion is real!


In order to control your stress, and take care of yourself, (checkout last 2 blog posts) find an outside outlet for your feelings, like meditation, support groups, prayers, aromatherapy, and even counseling.   


Key points to take home and remember that, it is important to treat them like the adults they are. Accept the situation for what it is; try to make changes in increments.  


Don’t beat yourself up. There isn’t a lot we can do sometimes but stand by, watch closely and be able to jump in when needed.



Thank you for reading, A RN: Disclosed! Thank you for sharing! 

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