What to Do When Seniors are Resistant to Accepting Help

What to Do When Your Elderly Loved One Resists Care: 4 Ways to Help

Aging can really be hard, both physically and emotionally. One of the most common difficulties our families run into is when elderly loved ones experience health setbacks that prevent them from doing things themselves. Their mobility or vision may be impaired, or dementia may make it hard for them to think clearly enough to accomplish day-to-day tasks. When that happens, it can be very hard to come to the point of asking for help—or accepting it when it’s offered. For decades, your loved one “took care of business” on their own, and it’s hard to let go of that sense of independence, even when it’s necessary.

This is why it usually takes some time, a lot of love, and the right team of helpers to help your loved one accept the care and assistance they need—in a way that promotes as much independence and improved quality of life as possible. If you are in this situation with a loved one right now and need ideas, please call At Home Personal Care at (703) 494-3989. We’ve been there. In the meantime, try these 4 ideas to help your loved one overcome resistance to receiving the care that they need:

1. Help Them Talk Through It

Sometimes resistance to home care or assisted living services comes from misunderstandings about what those terms mean. In fact, over the last decade or so, the idea of home care has blossomed so much that it can be customized very well to the needs of your loved one.

As with any good conversation, first listen to them. Ask them why they are hesitant to receive care and just let them explain without interrupting. Once you understand their feelings and reasons, you’ll be better able to address their concerns without assuming anything.

After listening to them, share some of your worries and why you think home care might be beneficial for them. Calmly and lovingly explain any changes you’ve seen in their healthy, housekeeping or hygiene and help them understand that you care about them and want them to stay healthy, safe and happy.

2. Discuss the Different Home Care Options and Benefits

As previously mentioned, home care services are very customizable to your loved one’s needs and don’t need to be overbearing or difficult. Today’s home care can provide a few hours a week, or a few hours a day as needed. Your home care team can help with light housework, cooking, shopping and meal preparation. They can be there to play board games or take your loved one to an appointment.

Your loved one can still live at home and do the things they like doing as independently as possible—but with a little extra help to make those things easier and safer to do. Many of our current patients were resistant to home care initially, simply because they didn’t understand all the benefits and how it would help them retain a larger degree of independence and a better quality of life. Once your loved one can see the benefits, it may help them to willingly accept the care they need. 

In fact, if they have any friends who receive home care benefits, it might be helpful to have them talk with your loved one about how it works for them. This peer-to-peer home care advising can make a big difference in how well your loved one accepts the idea of home care too.

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3. Discuss Common Goals

The more you talk with your elderly loved one, and the more you listen, the clearer it will be that you both have a lot of goals in common. Introducing them to home care may, indeed, help both of you accomplish certain goals they have in mind. Some of the most important to touch on and affirm with your loved one may include:

  • Staying at home as long as possible
  • Staying as independent as possible
  • Improving their quality of life (less stress, more fun activities)
  • Not being lonely
  • Being able to make their own decisions (big and small)
  • Spending quality time with family and friends
  • Being safe at home

The fact is, the right level of home care may be exactly what’s needed for your loved one to meet these goals. Listening and finding that common ground can help them decide for themselves that asking for and receiving help via home care is the right thing for them.

4. Be Patient and Give them Time

Trusting someone to come into your home and be a companion or home care professional is a big step. Suggest that they can start out with just a few hours a week to see how it goes, or to get to know some of the potential caregivers on our team. Let your loved one take the time to get to know how it works for them. Once they make the decision, they can choose the caregivers they most enjoy being with and see just how much of an improvement to their quality of life they can enjoy.

The bottom line is that your loved one needs to make the choice. You can’t force it on them, even if you feel it’s the best step for them to take, otherwise that would cause stressful and sad divisions within the family; nobody wants that! Just keep loving them and have those good, listening conversations where you can build on common goals, and keep introducing the idea of home care and how it might make their lives better. And if you’re worried about your loved one’s health or safety, please do call our At Home Personal Care team today. We’ve walked this road and we can help: (703) 494-3989.


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