What To Do When an Aging Parent Doesn’t Accept Help


When your parents age and become less independent, it’s natural to want to step in and offer your help. After all, your parents raised you from infancy and helped you become the person you are today. The least you can do is return the favor and help them get through the golden years of their lives. But sometimes, children discover that their parents don’t want to accept help, even when needed. Here are a few things you can do when an aging parent doesn’t allow you to help.

Man talks to older man in wheelchair

Understand Why Your Loved One Resists Help

When someone you love refuses your help, the first thing to do is avoid feeling insulted or personally attacked. In reality, rejection probably has nothing to do with you. However, to avoid hurt feelings, it can help to try to understand why your loved one resists help.

Aging can feel scary at times, which is why your loved one may at first struggle with the idea of needing help to do things they were always able to do before. It is also common for older adults to feel a loss of identity and value. These feelings can lead to a desire to take care of things independently, even when they can no longer physically or mentally do so. To help your loved ones feel validated, reassure them that they always matter and are important. Try not to get offended if your efforts to help are initially rejected. Instead, approach your parent with understanding and let them know they can safely communicate their feelings with you.

Make It About You

This may sound strange, but try to make helping your parent all about you. Talk about how you are concerned and have a deep desire to help wherever possible. When you frame things this way, your parent is more likely to see how much stress they are causing you when they refuse your help. Instead, let them know that you feel fulfilled when you can help meet their needs and wants.

Understand That Change Can Happen Slowly

You may discover that your attempts to help your parent seem like a losing battle. Keep in mind that significant changes tend to happen slowly. For example, your parent may not allow you to clean the entire house right now. Still, they may be open to having you grab a few groceries on your way over for a Sunday visit. Test the waters to see what types of assistance your loved one is willing to accept right now. You may notice that you can slowly offer more help over time as long as you don’t try to do it all at once.

Consider an Assisted Living Community

Your aging parent may be embarrassed to have you help with daily living needs. But it might be easier to accept such help from paid staff. On the other hand, your parent may be open to moving to an assisted living community committed to helping older adults live purposeful lives. Elder Care Alliance can help you find the ideal community for your aging parent.

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Alameda, CA 94501

Phone: (510) 630-2560

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