As our parents age, and the parent-child roles begin to reverse, knowing what to do when parents refuse help can be a hard situation to navigate. While many adult children begin to worry about their parents’ health and safety, seniors might not understand or be willing to accept their children’s advice and concerns. When it comes to giving advice, research shows that, “77% of adult children reported their parents acting in ways attributed to stubbornness.” This means that seniors’ refusal of their children’s advice about their health and safety isn’t an isolated incident.
At our Carespring nursing home and skilled rehabilitation facilities in Dayton, Cincinnati, and Northern Kentucky, we’re always looking for ways to improve the lives of our residents and their families. Here are a few tips on what to do when your parents or loved one refuse care:
When it comes to aging, there can be a lot of issues, especially concerning what seniors are able and not able to do. Instead of being overwhelmed with the quantity of issues at hand, consider focusing on the quality. Try writing down your concerns and then decide which two or three are at the top of the list. Addressing issues in this manner will help you feel in control and less overwhelmed. If possible, try involving your parents or loved one in this conversation.
Having a plan in place before a situation becomes stressful is best for both parents and children. Consider writing down the plan together as a family, so when the time comes, parents and children can be reminded of the agreement. Asking questions like, “Where do you want to spend most of your time?” or, “How do you feel about hiring help when the time comes?” is a great way to start a conversation.
Know Your Options
Being prepared with two or three options for each issue helps turn decision-making into something your parent has control over. If you are comfortable with each option, then allowing your parent to choose which they prefer will give them the feeling of independence. Consider options for living arrangements, caregivers, and which person will accompany them on doctor visits.
Whether your parent is confused or even angry, it’s important to try to understand what’s motivating their unwillingness to accept care. Sometimes parents might be experiencing fear, or perhaps it’s their disease that’s causing their stubbornness. Giving yourself time to understand their motivations will help you become more compassionate, especially during stressful moments.
There are many joys in getting older, but there are many challenges as well. Caring for older adults can affect the whole family. Knowing your options and resources before you encounter changes in your senior will help you do what’s best for your parents.