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How to Help a Parent That Doesn’t Want Your Help

You love your parent and want the best for them. You’ve noticed that they aren’t getting around like they used to. Maybe they’re a little wobbly when they walk. Maybe they aren’t showering as often as they used to (or maybe not as much as they should). Maybe they’re losing weight and you’re concerned about them not eating like they should.

I’ve been working with seniors and their families for more than 20 years. I’ve heard it from my patients for the last 20 years—

  • “I don’t want a stranger coming to my house to help me”
  • “I don’t want anyone (stranger or not) coming in to help me”
  • “I don’t need anyone (stranger or not) coming to my house to help me”
  • “I’ll just wait until my daughter/son/neighbor help me.”

I understand. I really do. I think it’s difficult to change, difficult to admit you need help. We all want to be as independent as possible, and having help come (whether from a friend, a paid helper, or a relative) is an admission that we may not be able to do it all ourselves.

At the same time, it’s very difficult to help your mom or dad if they don’t want help. I was recently reading an article about 9 Strategies to Help a Parent Who Refuses Care.

The first two tips are:

  1. Start Early
    Ideally, families have relaxed conversations about caregiving long before a health crisis. Look for opportunities to ask questions like, “Mom, where do you see yourself getting older?” or “How would you feel about hiring a housekeeper or driver so you could stay home?”
  2. Be Patient
    Ask open-ended questions and give your loved one time to answer, says Senior Care advisor Mary Stehle, LCSW. “You can say, ‘Dad, what’s it like to take care of Mom 24 hours a day?’.” But be warned: Conversations may be repetitive and tangential, veering off-topic. It may take several talks to discover the reason your mother, a meticulous housekeeper, has fired five aides in a row is simply that they neglected to vacuum under the dining room table.

There are seven more helpful strategies in the article.

If you would like to discuss what sort of help might be right for your parent, or you’d like an in-home consultation to see how we might be able to help, please call our office for a no-obligation conversation. Our office number is 940-384-0393.

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