Helping Aging Loved Ones Who Don’t Want Help
Think back to your adolescent years. Remember that feeling of being an adult able to make your own decisions, until mom and dad stepped in. The bruised ego and fear of loss of autonomy that you felt when you, a grown up, were bumped to taking direction and living with someone else’s rules. That’s how many aging parents feel. They are after all parents. They’ve lived their whole lives in control and independently and are now, while not suddenly, but oftentimes all of a sudden faced with the reality that they need help or someone else, in fact often their own children, will have to make the bigger decisions in their lives. This pushes them to fight back and for all extensive purposes act out. They need help and are unwilling to accept it. Wait for a moment and consider the fact that they aren’t being stubborn on purpose, they’re usually struggling with accepting the loss of their independence and autonomy afraid of what’s next.
That being said, it is still important to try to figure out a way to talk to your aging loved ones even when they don’t want your help. There are several approaches to take when working with the elders you are trying to care for.
Start the discussion early on with family meetings with say extended family members or close family friends who may be able to influence your parents. Sometimes it’s a matter of hearing it from their own peers and friends to convince parents to accept help.
Doctors On Board
If you can get the support of a doctor, their word is often taken more seriously and respected by elders.
Scope out the Options
Before approaching your parents about assisted living, take the time to scope out and evaluate the options available. Visit and really get to see facilities and centers as well as have a conversation with the management. Then, its just a matter of bringing in your elder for a visit. As you have already done the prep work, you’re minimizing the number of so-so visits and preparing your loved one for the best possible experience.
Respect the Elders Personal Choice
At the end of the day you can’t legally force your parents or loved ones to take your guidance unless they are truly a danger to themselves. They can resist your help for as long as they want. In the situation that they are a danger to themselves, Guardianship (Conservatorship in California) is an extreme step you can take to protect your loved ones from themselves.
Don’t Give Up
Eventually every aging loved one will realize that they need help and will be willing to accept it. Until then don’t lose hope and keep at it.