Daughter feeding his father

Unconditional Love: How to Care for an Aging Parent Who Refuses Care

The first step in caregiving requires not just the caregiver deciding to offer help, but also the aging parent accepting the fact that they need help. The reality, however, is most people who need care refuse it. It’s a familiar story: you telling your mom that you’d get someone to do all the household chores or cook their meals and remind them about their medications, only to be told off that they can do it themselves.

But you know for a fact that they can’t. So, what do you do in such a situation? Here’s how to care for someone who refuses care:

Understand where they’re coming from

People experience many changes as they grow older. For one, they lose a sense of independence. With the health problems they’re experiencing, they find it more difficult to move around the house. With the house help you’re offering, they’re reminded of the independence they’re quickly losing.

Another major life change is the role reversal. Aging parents often have a hard time accepting that they need help when all their life they’re the ones offering help to their children. It somehow affects their morale to be fed, bathed, and dressed — basically to be parented — by their children.

Try to consider where they’re coming from when they refuse help. Because from there, you can reframe how you offer assistance, for instance, giving them activities that would let them feel a sense of independence, such as gardening or crocheting.

Give them options

Whole family bonding at the backyardIt’s tempting to just tell your mom or dad that they need this or that. It saves time. But it rarely does a difference. When you dictate rather than discuss with your parents, they’re more likely to resist your decisions. So, when planning a course of action, give them options so that they could participate actively in what you’re going to do.

For instance, if you’re planning to get senior home health care services in Logansport, ask them what time or which days they would want the nurses and therapists to arrive. Get suggestions on which physical activities they would want to do with their home health aide. Let them discuss with you the house chores they still want to do.

Whatever you do, remember the principle of giving the one in need a sense of dignity in getting help. You can do that well when you give them options, discuss with them and avoid dictating what they need to do.

Let them talk to a professional

In most instances, you would need the intervention of a professional so that your aging parent would come to the realization that they do need help. You don’t need to talk them out to an assisted living facility or a retirement community. Allow people of authority, such as doctors, therapists, social workers, or pastors to do that. These experts will be able to tell them the benefits of getting help as early as possible.

It’s frustrating to offer care to people who keep refusing. But in such vulnerable times, stick with them. Be extra empathetic with them, but of course, don’t forget to care for yourself, too. You can never give the love you don’t have or you don’t receive.

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