416-207-3888 hello@carehop.ca

Dealing with Aging Parents in Denial About Needing Help

Right from birth, we begin to learn about independence. Our parents and caregivers teach us to do simple tasks on our own, such as washing, brushing our teeth, and getting dressed.

As we grow up, we acquire more skills such as cooking, cleaning the home, and driving. These are all tasks we take pride in doing independently and without assistance from others.

Many older adults still enjoy carrying out these tasks on their own to preserve their independence. However, due to the natural course of aging or a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, independence can increasingly become a challenge.

In-home elder care offers the perfect solution for older adults who may need a little extra support. However, families who broach the subject of in-home care might be met with resistance to the very idea of needing assistance with basic tasks. This is a perfectly normal reaction. After all, no one wants to admit that they’re reaching a point where they’re not as independent as they used to be – even if the facts say otherwise.

Their resistance may seem insurmountable at first, but there are some strategies you can use to keep the discussions positive and productive.

Empathize with your loved one

Many older adults find aging a difficult process. They sometimes deal with anxiety, loneliness, depression, mobility issues, or dementia. Always think about how you would feel if you were losing your independence, and employ empathy when discussing the idea of getting them in-home help.

Get to the root of the issue

Try to find out why your older loved one is resisting getting help. For example, do they usually resist change? Are they afraid of losing their independence? Do they not want caregivers coming into the home? Do they have financial concerns over getting help? Identifying the root cause of their behavior will help direct the conversation in a positive manner that will help address their concerns.

Respect their wishes

There’s no question that you have your loved one’s best interests in mind. However, they are still in control of their lifestyle and care decisions. Respect their wishes even if you disagree, as tricky as it might seem. You’ll have less stress and maintain a good relationship with your aging parents or relatives, which will open them to more discussions in the future.

Focus on what matters

You might be tempted to insist that your loved one get outside more, join a walking group, or make new friends. Instead of focusing on these beneficial but nonessential activities, put your energy where it matters, such as on their health and safety within the home. They will be more receptive to your concerns if you’re not overwhelming them with several all at once, regardless of how valid they might be.

Show loving, positive support

Children can only do so much to convince their parents that they need help if they believe they can handle things independently. The sad truth is that mishaps can happen, and when they do, you need to jump in with loving support. Avoid saying anything negative such as “I told you so” or “If only you had listened.” This does nothing but cause shame, which can lead to sadness and depression. Kindness and empathy will go much further in advancing the idea of getting help.

Treat your parents like adults

It might feel at times that you and your parents have switched roles, especially if they start acting stubbornly. Avoid the temptation to talk to them or treat them like children. Older people deserve to be treated like adults when they forget to take medications, skip meals, neglect their hygiene, or argue. Plus, you’ll help keep your relationship with them healthy, keeping the door open for discussions about getting help.

Find an outlet for your negative feelings

You may feel upset that your parents aren’t open to the idea of getting in-home care. However, it’s important not to vent your frustrations at them. It’s much more productive to confide in a friend, another family member, or an online support group with people in a similar situation. Take care of yourself by eating well, getting lots of rest, and finding activities that will help you release negative emotions.

Educate yourself on the eldercare process

Your loved one will likely have lots of questions about in-home elder care. Have the information ready by reading articles, visiting websites, and talking to any friends who have gotten in-home care for their parents. Your efforts will be appreciated by your loved ones and will help them keep an open mind to in-home care.

Seek support from healthcare professionals

Your older relative might respond better to advice from their primary care physicians, specialists, nurses, or social workers. Be sure to leverage their opinions to help your parents understand that they need help with certain tasks.

Stress that they’re retaining independence, not losing it

Getting help doesn’t mean becoming totally helpless – far from it! Focus on the fact that in-home caregivers actually enhance independence by lending a hand with tasks, not taking them over. For example, caregivers walk with your loved one so they can walk further or help prepare the food so that they can still cook. The caregiver is the assistant, your relative is still in charge!

Reassure them that you’ll always be there

Sometimes, an older adult is afraid that their children, grandchildren, and other people might stop visiting if a caregiver is in place. Saying something like “The help is actually for me/our family so we can spend more quality time with you” will remind them how important they are and reassure them that you’ll always be there.

Remember, the goal is to help your parents receive the best care possible, not win arguments. Continue to have open, positive conversations that keep your loved one at the center of the conversation and come from a place of love and care.

Quality in-home elder care in Etobicoke, Toronto West, Mississauga, and Brampton

When your elderly loved one needs support with everyday tasks or Alzheimer’s disease or dementia care, give CareHop a call. Our team specializes in providing respectful, empathetic in-home elder care services such as homemaking and meal preparation, personal care, activities, and casual companionship that will help your loved one live independently and with confidence. We also offer professional Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care that focuses on your loved one’s needs and helps them have a great day, every day.

Our team would love to discuss how our approach to quality elder care can positively impact your family. Get in touch with us today for a free, no-obligation discussion to discover how we can help you.

About the Author

Michael Lu is the founder of CareHop. He started the business inspired by his Grandmother to look at ageing as a happy experience to bring sunshine into the homes of others.

Share This