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Overcoming Your Parent’s Resistance to Care


Eldercare Specialists has helped many people accept care when they have been extremely resistant or refused care in the past.  In fact, helping to overcome an older person’s resistance is what our care managers do best. They use their professional experience with the full involvement of the family to gain your loved one’s trust and acceptance.

The Steps to Overcoming Refusal of Care

Bring in Professionals Early – In many instances it is easier for a parent to talk to a professional than their own children or other family members.  If it looks like your parent is going to need care bring in a geriatric care manager early to talk to your parent and advise you on how to approach your parent during this time of transition,  Each situation is different and depends on the persons personality, health or cognitive issues and fears.

Start Slowly and Build a Relationship of Trust – Start slowly with family members that are resistant to care.  It is important to build trust, understand their needs and what is important to them.  Once trust is established and your loved one doesn’t feel like their independence is being taken away they are more likely to accept care.

Delicately Ask Questions to Understand the Reasons for Resistance – As we build relationships with our clients we ask questions to understand their resistance to assistance.  We determine if their concerns about privacy, costs, losing independence or having a stranger in the house.  We listen with empathy to understand and validate their feelings.

Make Your Loved One Part of the Process and Offer Options  –  We identify options for services, research them and come up with a list of viable options that meet the person’s needs and preferences.  In most cases, once you have this list narrowed down it is a good time to get your parent involved to discuss and choose the options.  This gives them a sense of ownership with the process and improves the chance of them accepting care.

Keep Options and Planning Appropriate to the Situation – Choices need to be narrowed down so that the decisions are not difficult.  If the person has dementia, offering less information, less involvement in decision making  and less options may be more helpful and therapeutic.  In dementia cases therapeutic communication  is often taught to the family to protect the parent’s dignity.

Develop a Plan with Your Parent That Addresses Things They Like to Do –  Your parent needs to know this is not about being “baby sat” but is about optimizing their quality of life and protecting their independence.  It is important for your parent to be involved in deciding what the caregiver should be doing so they see it as a benefit and feel they are gaining independence.

Go Slow to Move Forward and Balance Independence with Safety – Decisions on the amount of care will vary with each situation and over time.  It is important to protect a person’s right to independence, however, this does come with risks.  You need  to look at  the pro’s and con’s of adding care to the home.  As long as your loved one is not endangering themselves or others, let them make their own choices.   The slower you go with adding care, the more likely they are to accept it.