Elderly parents’ care is a time-consuming and exhausting undertaking, both physically and mentally. The sight of a parent losing strength can be a shock. However, the worst part is when a loved one refuses the help they so desperately need. What to do when your parent refuses care? How do you convince a loved one that accepting help is not a shame? How do you overcome the pride and prejudice associated with hiring a 24-hour care professional?
How do you know when a loved one needs help?
Before we go into how to convince an ageing parent that they need occasional or live-in caregiver support, let’s consider when such help is necessary.
Hygiene and housekeeping
The first sign that a senior needs 24-hour care is the neglect of basic activities such as personal hygiene, nutrition and housekeeping. If you see that your parent has a dirty flat, doesn’t look clean or has an empty fridge, this is the first sign that it’s time to think about elderly parents’ care.
Another qualifying factor for providing elderly parents care is the health of the person concerned. If your loved one has trouble with mobility, eyesight, arthritis, or is starting to have memory problems and symptoms of dementia, they could use some help, whether it’s yours or a professional live-in caregiver.
Lack of a social life
Old age is often a time of losing friends who you can no longer spend time with. Seniors may also face social challenges if they can no longer drive and meet people. Therefore, a reluctance to leave the house and interact with people is another signal that elderly parent care is needed. In such a case, it is a good idea to find a live-in caregiver to provide companionship and take the seniors to places where they can meet other seniors.
Dealing with elderly parents who refuse help – UK
What can you do if your loved one doesn’t want help? Here are ways of dealing with elderly parents who refuse help.
Talk to the family
When you notice that your loved one may need help, reach out to the rest of the family before talking to them. Discuss options in advance, what elderly parents’ care options you have and make sure you are on the same page in this regard. By presenting a united front, you will not only ensure that you have each other’s support, but that you make the best decision.
Talk to your senior
It is best if the senior is spoken to by the person with whom he or she has the best contact. If more people get together, the senior may feel cornered and attacked. Remember to present the positives of 24-hour care rather than highlighting the senior’s problems. Explain that this is the way things are and that you only want the best for them.
Get to know the situation
Is housework overwhelming for your parent or is he or she not doing it through depression? Is he or she lonely? Or is it an independence that is most important to him or her despite illness? Talk to your parents and try to get to the root of the problem.
Show your feelings
Parents love their children and don’t want to be a burden to them, so it’s your job to reciprocate those feelings and show that you want to help and don’t have to. Share how their situation is affecting you. Say that you are worried, but be sure not to blame them in the process. Say that you would like to spend more time with them and that you care about their safety and health.
Do not push
Avoid pressuring your senior to make a quick decision and avoid making your parents feel pressured into helping you. Give them time and a sense that their opinion is important and expect that it won’t end with one conversation.
Try not to get upset and walk in the shoes of your ageing parents for a bit. This is a very difficult time for them, where they have to face the limitations of their bodies and feel not fully free. Therefore, wait, commiserate and try not to give up.
Reframe the benefits
Many seniors see hiring a live-in caregiver as giving up. However, the opposite is true. Such assistance offers companionship, independence, peace of mind and more time to enjoy life. Remind your parents of these benefits and how 24-hour care will improve their quality of life.
Give them control
Nobody wants to be told what to do with their life. Therefore, instead of imposing your opinion, ask how they would propose to solve the problem and offer your options for how the situation could develop. Ask about their priorities and give them the freedom to make a choice.
If you have not been able to convince a parent to accept help, you may need external support. Preferably someone who enjoys some authority and trust. A third party can neutralise a charged situation and show it from another side. So think about talking to a trusted doctor, psychologist or spiritual guide.
Elderly parents’ care – summary
The decision to arrange help for your ageing parents is bound to be a difficult one for you. It will also not be easy to convince them that they need help. However, it is worth going through this difficult and long journey. After all, your parents’ safety, health and quality of life depend on it. The stakes, then, are quite high.