How to Care for Senior Parents Who Don’t Want Help
If you are struggling with an aging parent who refuses help, know that you are not alone. This is a common scenario for many adult children who try to offer advice or provide help to their parents. Even simple things like helping with daily tasks can turn into an argument. What can you do to get them to accept help? There are some things you can do that might help the situation and may help your parents see things from your perspective.
Understanding the Motivation Behind Their Behavior
Aging is never an easy process. Many seniors deal with problems like dementia or other mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression. These can often be the reason that your parents may be hesitant to accept help. Some of the questions you should ask yourself that could help identify the root of your parents behavior include:
- Are they acting this way out of habit?
- Are they asserting their independence?
- Is it due to depression?
- Are they confused or dealing with dementia?
- What are they afraid of?
Pick Your Battles
If you are having trouble when offering help to your parents, it might make the situation worse if they perceive you as nagging. Even though your heart is in the right place, it is sometimes best to let certain things go and choose important issues to focus on. They are much more likely to take your concerns seriously if you don’t try to help them with every little thing.
Set Up Safety Nets
Regardless of whether your parents ask for or accept your help, you should do what you can to set up safety nets that will keep them safe. This will generally be things that intrude on their independence as little as possible. There are many wearable medical monitors which can provide alerts in the case of a medical emergency or accident. Things like medication management apps and tools can also do wonders for making sure they are taking any necessary medicine each day.
Treat Your Parents Like Adults
This one may seem obvious but many adult children have a tendency to feel like the roles have been reversed and begin infantilizing their parents, sometimes without realizing it. At the end of the day they are still your parents and should be treated with respect and dignity. If you are treating your parents like you would treat a stubborn child, you are approaching things incorrectly.
Express Your Feelings and Frustrations
If trying to help your parents is causing you to feel angry or resentful, it can be important to vent, but not to your parents. Confide in a friend, sibling, or therapist. This is especially important if you are the primary caregiver for your aging parents.