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What Can You Do When Your Elderly Parent Refuses Help - How to Best Respond

When it's clear that your elderly parent needs help because you notice they are falling behind on mail, paying bills, missing doctor appointments or not keeping up with their usual hygiene habits you cannot force them to accept help.

Believe it or not, refusing help is a common occurrence among the elderly. It is important to approach the subject and conversation with empathy and respect. Aging brings on drastic changes with emotions, independence, fear and change.

If your parent is legally competent they can make their own decisions regarding help at home. Here are the best tips to respond if they need and refuse help at home:

  1. Find out what motivates their behavior and what is their situation.

  2. Be positive and focus on what can help them maintain independence and activity.

  3. Give options and solutions allowing your parent to feel some control over choices.

  4. Make it about yourself and your worries that they are safe and never alone.

  5. Start small and don't overwhelm your parent with large changes that can be overwhelming.

  6. Accept their decision, even if they make a poor choice and let them know you will always be there for them whether or not they change their mind.

  7. Always be mindful of role reversal.

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