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  • Writer's pictureThe Care Company

The Care Conundrum: When Aging Parents Resist Care



It is a complicated situation many family caregivers encounter: your aging parents, who once cared for you, now reject the aid they so urgently need. There is a delicate balance between respecting their freedom and protecting their safety and well-being. If you're in this position, you're not alone! We understand the range of feelings that come up when acknowledging the need for care, and have some helpful tips that will help when aging parents resist care.


Look at Things From Their Point of View


Understanding the reasons behind your parents' pushback is the first step. In many cases, it arises from a wish to keep self-sufficiency and control over their lives. Aging can be an overwhelming process, marked by cognitive and physical changes that can leave senior loved ones feeling vulnerable. By declining assistance, they may be attempting to claim their independence and maintain a sense of dignity.


However, fear and denial may also be playing a role in their resistance to help. Accepting that care is needed can be intimidating, as it might symbolize a loss of independence. Additionally, some individuals may simply not understand the extent of their limitations or even the available support options.


Reaching an Agreement About the Need for Care


So, what can you do when facing this challenging situation? Most importantly, address the conversation with understanding and empathy. Acknowledge your parents' feelings and concerns, and let them know that your goal is to support them in maintaining their independence and well-being.


Start by listening actively to their position. Understanding their reasons for not wanting assistance can help you tailor your approach and deal with their specific concerns. Reassure them that accepting help does not mean that they are losing control, but rather that they are ensuring they will be able to live at home safely and comfortably.


Compromising is generally an effective way to reach agreement with your parents. For instance, if the idea of having help with baths or showers is off-putting, propose the idea of help with housekeeping, meals, and running errands. Once they get to know and trust their caregiver with these types of less-intimidating services, it is easier to work your way up to additional care. 


If your parents are still unsure about accepting help, consider enlisting the help of a trusted third party, such as a doctor. Often, hearing advice from an objective professional can carry more weight than coming from a member of the family.


Most importantly, keep in mind that change doesn't happen overnight. It may well require multiple conversations and gentle persuasion before your parents feel okay with accepting help. Be persistent yet compassionate, and always prioritize their feelings and wishes.


At The Care Company, we've helped many older adults live fuller and more enriching lives at home, and we are here to help your parents whenever they are ready, with custom senior care solutions in Markham, Toronto, Etobicoke, and the neighboring communities. We provide a complimentary in-home consultation to help you and your parents talk through the services that will best meet their needs. E-mail us any time or call us at (416) 422-2273.


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