9 steps towards helping a parent who refuses care

Posted by ClaireJ
January 24, 2018

NOTE: This post has been self-published by the author. Anyone can write on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Adult children sometimes find that their ageing parents decline help when it comes to professional care.

As parents age, and their physical and mental health suffer, it can be hard for them to accept the looming challenges and possible loss of independence, regardless of the risk they may pose to themselves and others. If you think your parent needs some level of care, but they don’t want to accept it, here’s 9 steps you can take towards helping them.


  1. Start Early

The best possible way to get your parents used to or thinking about the idea of care is to start the conversation early. Introducing the idea in a relaxed way, before a health crisis takes place, is the best way to see what your parent’s plan is in terms of ageing.

If they haven’t thought about it, introduce the idea slowly.


  1. Accept the situation

If the situation is past the point of relaxed conversation, and your parent is already refusing care, your first step is to accept the situation. It’s important to understand that your parent is their own person and their concerns are valid. They’re also entitled to make their own decision. Accepting this is the first step to helping them.


  1. Be Patient

Patience is key, which is why it helps to start the conversation early. Ask open questions like, “Where do you see yourself ageing?” Give them time to think about their options. You may have to have repeated conversations, but taking their concerns into consideration will help you both reach an arrangement that suits the situation. It’s important that your parents feel they have control.


  1. Be Persistent

Some ageing parents may brush off questions about care, giving the impression that they’re not fazed, not interested or simply don’t need care. It’s important that you are not brushed off. If you feel the situation is important, and especially if your parent is at risk to themselves or others, it’s important that you are persistent.


  1. Understand why they are refusing help

In your persistence, try to understand the motives behind why they are refusing help. Is it about their privacy, security concerns or do they want to maintain their independence? Don’t dismiss their concerns but try to show you understand and want to work together to find options. The Better Caring platform enables you to find care workers who will fit in with your parents’ specific needs and interests. Sitting down with your parent and looking through such services can be a great place to start.


  1. Offer Options

Try to work together to find options. Let them sit in on care worker interviews, choose what they need help with and what days somebody will come. Let them know that there are a variety of options they can take to receive care. It could be something as simple as someone doing their shopping, or somebody who spends more time within the home.

Sometimes, elderly parents can be more cooperative towards a professional rather than a family member, so contacting a trusted doctor or community leader can be beneficial.


  1. Prioritise problems

It’s likely that if you’re considering care for your elderly parents, they will have a list of problems or concerns whether they know it or not. Trying to tackle every problem at once will likely be unfeasible, so it’s better to approach the most concerning issue first. This will keep both you and your parent from feeling overwhelmed.


  1. Take it slow

A great approach for incorporating a carer into your parent’s life is to take it slowly. Gradually introduce a carer early on by getting them to do the tasks your parent needs the most help with. This will give your parent time to get used to them and build a relationship, making it easier to transfer to more regular care.

Sometimes being indirect, and providing less information can make it easier, especially for a parent with dementia. Simply letting them know someone will be coming to help them out on a certain day can be easier than explaining the entire situation.

  1. Accept your limits

In the case your parent isn’t in danger of harming themselves, it’s important to allow them to make their own decisions. Trying to do everything for them, or constantly be there for them will leave you worn down. It’s ok to have your limits, understand what you can accomplish and know when a professional must step in.

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