One challenge many family caregivers face is communicating with their senior loved ones. Most of the time, seniors would refuse help even if it is obvious that they can no longer accomplish certain tasks on their own. What can you do to convince them to just accept help?
Why Seniors Refuse Help
Most of the time, people refuse help because they feel like they should be doing things for themselves. Accepting help makes them feel worthless. This can also be due to their pride getting in the way.
The same goes for seniors. They often refuse help even if they need it due to their strong feelings. They feel like they have the need to be physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually strong enough to function on their own.
As we grow older, we start to lose our sense of freedom, control, and pride. Seniors say no to help because they don’t want to feel helpless, undesirable, and be a burden. They fear that feeling of being less than and would resort to actions and words that translate to refusal.
This is one reason why many seniors would choose to age in place instead of enjoying their retirement in a community for seniors. They would rather optimize the remaining time they have in their old house than surrender to assisted living communities. They fear that the moment they start accepting help, they are already surrendering their control, pride, and freedom.
What to Avoid When Trying to Help Seniors
Sometimes, it is our very approach that influences our senior loved ones’ refusal to help. Your efforts might not be working because your strategy is not really a strategy. If you want to start improving your communications with your elderly parent, be sure to avoid the following.
Pressuring Them to Accept Help
Wanting what’s best for their senior loved ones, many would use nagging to pressure them into getting help. But if you want your senior loved one to accept your help wholeheartedly, the last thing you want is to overstep boundaries. This involves using pressure to make them accept help.
Remember that even seniors would want to stay in control of their lives. They may no longer be able to accomplish certain tasks due to their old age or medical condition. But know that they still value their freedom and want to make decisions that concern them.
Calling Out Their Weaknesses
Have you considered calling out your senior loved one’s weakness as a way of convincing them to simply accept help? Know that this can be a dangerous tactic. They can end up proving their abilities and capabilities just to reinforce their self-concept and lead to them getting hurt in the process.
For instance, you fear that your senior loved one can no longer drive themselves safely when running errands. Instead of following your advice, they can end up secretly driving themselves to their destination. Asserting independence can have costly consequences especially among seniors.
As we grow older, it becomes harder to accept others’ opinions of what you need and should do. Your tendency could be to impose to them what needs to be done, so they can stay healthy and safe. But in your aging loved one’s point of view, you are already overstepping boundaries by overwhelming them.
You can end up using words that may sound too judgmental or intimidating to them. Instead of telling them what to do, you can make suggestions. You can always get their feedback after keeping the conversation to let them know their opinions still matter.
Showing You Are Losing Patience
Some seniors are too stubborn that they won’t ask for help even if it is a matter of their health and safety. Others won’t even accept help even after you asked a multitude of times.
Family caregivers of seniors often end up lashing out at their loved ones after seniors refuse their help. It can be frustrating to help someone who doesn’t want your help. What they need is your reassurance, not your outbursts.
Trying to Help Without Assessing
Just because you saw your loved one having a bit of difficulty doing certain tasks, this already meant they now need help. There is a need to assess their situation before you impose and offer help. Remember that the best way to help is knowing what they are capable of, what their weaknesses are, and what their personalities are in the first place.
Providing senior care can take a lot of hard work. Your senior loved one can have their own reason for not accepting the help you have to offer. Knowing the reason why what kind of help they need and their strengths and weaknesses are the first steps to providing the kind of help they need.
Meta title: Handling Elderly Adult Parents Who Refuse Help: What Should You Avoid?
meta desc: Are you taking care of a senior loved one who does not want to accept your assistance? Learn what to stop doing if you want them to change their mind.